Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Signature Moment


Sohna and I are very proud that Our Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg and his agent--Scott Boras--came to terms late last night on a contract. Strasburg's signing means so much to Our Franchise. A quality talent, top pitching prospect, a major addition to continue building our team around. But most of all, this signing of The San Diego State University Product will garner respect throughout the game--both on and off the field.

Our Washington Nationals took a big step forward late last night by getting the job done. Strasburg's signature on the dotted line now The Signature Moment in Our Young Franchise.

A very nice feeling of accomplishment. And despite the record entry contract--no one broke the bank at the end of the day.

10 comments:

SenatorNat said...

Today is indeed a red-letter day in Nationals history, along with Mayor Williams announcement that the team was transferring from Montreal, the drafting of Ryan Zimmerman by Bowden, the final approval of the stadium by the D.C. Council, the arrival of Soriano, and the firings of Bowden and Acta. The fact that it got done for a total of what the Nationals offered until 11:15 PM last night, plus what they were willing to pay Aaron Crowe at the midnight hour one year ago, but did not have to, is well within the realm of reasonableness considering the fanfare associated with this college pitcher.

The fact that the entire Nats brass acted with discretion and decorum throughout, not emoting through the press or grandstanding or preparing to castigate draftee and notorious agent is a true credit, and a refreshing contrast to Ashburn Park and the bi-polar nature of the Nats' previous GM.

The Strasburg signing is a tide that should lift all the following boats: Rizzo should, after brass performs due diligence, be installed as GM; Riggleman should be given two-year contract by the new GM along with current coaching staff in toto; Lerners now have proven they can match any powerful team in terms of dealing with Boras and free agents alike in professional way without alienating MLB brethren - they are capable of performing like the elites at this moment based on Teixiera and Strasburg dealings. Kasten is now placed correctly - the man in charge and the sole member of the brass with the facility to promote with credibility. The rest of the leadership to a man is understated, businesslike, smart, committed, credible.

The face of the franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, embodies the same qualities. It was he, after all, that was quoted as saying that if Strasburg truly wished to test his skills at the highest level, then "he should not sleep tuning down $15-16 million to do so..." If this team were playing circa 1924, it could make Zimmerman its playing manager and prosper - he is a once in a generation or more player in terms of his innate baseball IQ and integrity, and Nationals fan should begin to wake up to the fact that we have our own Cal Ripken, Jr., but with a better college on his resume'! (joke)

The team, had it not lost Jordon Zimmerman, would be well positioned to make the case that 2010-11 seasons would be stacking up as the break-through ones for the franchise. The team still can sell season tickets based now on its players (Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham, Tony Plush, Lannan, Olsen, and the prospect of Strasburg) v. the other teams'. It is akin to when Ernie Grunfield brought together Gilbert, Jameson, and that great kid from the Lakers. True Nats fans will recognize, too, that the team signed all its draft picks in 2009, including Drew Storen, and that it may have reclaimed a true closer in MacDougal. Indeed, by the close of 2009, no less than four Nationals may have accomplished career years (Zimmerman; Dunn; Guz; Willingham) with a second-year guy on course to be a top-flight centerfielder and lead-off man, to boot. The day that Nyjer Morgan said: "Anytime that a team like the Nationals wants you, it is a thrilling experience" told me that some fairy dust was finally landing on what was seemingly been an ill-starred enterprise.

The ship of state at Nationals Park has righted during the necessary catharthis that has been 2009 - it will be perceived hopefully in retrospect as the critical turning point for the franchise, when all major hands from Ted Lerner to the bullpen coach and players alike learned that it takes all engaged and invested all the time to produce a product which can be a proud representative of our Nation's Capital.

Whether Strasburg turns out to be Ben McDonald, Mike Mussina, or Walter Johnson, the team will nevertheless have succeeded.

Kudos to all. And to all for playing it "like a Strasburg-vari!" Trust in Stan the Man at the Midnight Hour. And a coach that does not turn into a pumpkin. All for One.

Anonymous said...

Happy 50th BRO Hope you have alot more

Love MSS JUDY ALY and BRYAN from Aruba

Aunt Lo said...

Well said, glad we got him and also glad we didn't break the bank doing it. Tom Boswell's column today sums it all up well, too. I feel like a proud parent, well, a proud Auntie, watching my boys grow up. Go Nats!

Tom said...

It was a good night for the Washington Nationals and not one pitch was thrown!

An Briosca Mor said...

Whether Strasburg turns out to be Ben McDonald, Mike Mussina, or Walter Johnson, the team will nevertheless have succeeded.

If Strasburg turns out to be Walter Johnson, SenatorNat, how many arms should he get on his statue? (Bearing in mind the effects of 100 years of inflation, of course.) Would he then have enough arms to heft the giant iconic baseball and blow it past Albert Pujols?

SenatorNat said...

Having gushed, I shall now temper the sentimental a bit and put this deal to a bit of a reality check via the window now offered the Nats for grand success: Strasburg was given a four-year Major League contract, not a split contract, with 2009 being the first of the four years. The signing bonus itself was a bit over $7 million, so I surmise that the remainder of the purported $15.67 million package is split out among the four years. Plus, there are "incentives," which could raise the package based on performance and milestones (e.g. number of starts, ERA, All Star Game appearances, etc.)

The key to the deal for Boras is that his client will already be in his contract year in 2012, as I understand this, auditioning for the Angels and Dodgers and others to be lining up with $250-300 million dollar long-term deal offers, as Scott and Stephen probably are setting the long-term picture for themselves.

Thus, Boz's column citing him as potentially needing, like Sandy Koufax and several other modern Hall of Fame fireballers, "years to progress," does not take into account that the clock has already ticked off a full 25% of his obligation to be part of the Nationals organization.

This means that should he use 2010 to get acclimated, and 2011 is his normal "first real year pitching in the Bigs," then he is already auditioning for major free agency the very next year.

The Nats know this, obviously, and it may mean that they are going to invest next year in a solid veteran who can be a Number 2 and an expensive reliever and one major league defensive shortstop (moving Guz to second perhaps), and hope that 2010 is the springboard for the Big Run in 2011. (Do they give Dunn the big extension this off-season as part of this strategy?)

One thing that strikes me in the Nationals press release, which laundry lists all their young arms as notable is the absence of mention of Scott Olsen - Kasten also failed to mention him on ESPN 980 interview at Noon. Do I read this as they have scheduled him for not physically reliable and/or departure? I had hoped that he would be here, healthy, and in the rotation next year. But, we may have traded for permanently damaged goods.

Ted Lerner may have caught the bug now of wanting to actually pay to play - a terrible thing in politics, but the only politically prudent course in running a sports franchise...At 83, he should want to push the process up a bit if he wants to see a Nationals Park Big Game at ground level.

Trust in the stars aligning. All bright, but scheduled to be shooting fast...

An Briosca Mor said...

The key to the deal for Boras is that his client will already be in his contract year in 2012, as I understand this

Nope. A four year contract can't buy out six years of club control, which is what every drafted player has to go through before becoming a free agent. If the Nats don't extend Strasburg's contract beyond the initial four years, the remaining years' salaries will be decided via arbitration. (Which can still yield quite the big payday. Ask the Phillies and Ryan Howard about that.)

An Briosca Mor said...

One thing that strikes me in the Nationals press release, which laundry lists all their young arms as notable is the absence of mention of Scott Olsen

They also didn't mention Matt Chico. What's up with that? I have a vested interest there, having stood in line for a half hour to get his autograph at the 2007 STH pre-game event. Still the only Nats autograph I have, and I doubt that they'll be making Strasburg available for any signings, wil they?

SenatorNat said...

Thanks ABM for setting me straight on that - arbitration better of course. In six years, incidentally, General Motors, having fully recovered and on its own selling cars running on tiny windmills and getting over 200 mph, will have erected the iconic baseball over the Red Loft with the naming rights. Thus, if we have him locked up for those initial six years, I do not have to be too cynical.

I shall now go back to putting in my order for play-off tickets! (And speaking of wind-mills, Strasburg's statue will actually have 6 arms spinning as a giant wind-mill which will power Nationals Park in perpetuity.)

An Briosca Mor said...

And speaking of wind-mills, Strasburg's statue will actually have 6 arms spinning as a giant wind-mill which will power Nationals Park in perpetuity.

Wow. So he's going to make America's Greenest Ballpark even greener? Scott Boras was right. He truly is a once in a generation talent!