What are the Washington Nationals doing?
No, nothing concerning Stephen Strasburg–yet, but they are now winning games. They have won three in a row, and 11 of their last 14.
How are they to really hold Strasburg (and agent Scott Boras) hostage if they keep winning games in 2009? The Nationals need to finish with the worst record in baseball to solidify last place and get the first pick in the draft next year, too.
Then they can have both top picks next season because if they don’t sign Strasburg this year, they automatically get the #2 overall pick next year. If they finish in last place, they can take Strasburg again next year (with his permission) and can reduce his value for next year.
There are currently five amateur draft picks in the top ten of this past June’s draft who have not yet signed. They need to sign by midnight Monday night or those teams which picked them will lose their draft rights. Any team which loses a pick would then garner a compensatory pick one spot after the missed pick in the next draft.
The Nationals went through that scenario last season. They picked ninth overall last year and took Missouri RHP Aaron Crow, he of the “winged arm” action and is very susceptible to injury. Crow thought he was hot stuff and did not sign with the Nationals. Crow went to pitch for Fort Worth in the American Association, a highly regarded independent league.
But it is not the major leagues. And Crow only pitched one inning last year.
The Nationals then had a compensatory pick at #10 overall this year because they did not sign Crow last year. At #10 this year the Nats drafted Stanford closer Drew Storen, who signed immediately and is currently in AA Harrisburg. He already was promoted from High A ball and just recorded his third AA save Sunday afternoon.
While picking Storen at #10, the Nats bypassed a still available Aaron Crow, who ended up going #12 to the Kansas City Royals. Crow has not learned his lesson, and still has not signed with the Royals yet either. And the price keeps dropping.Las tyear Crow was offered $3.5 million while he is only offered $3 million by the Royals.
Although Crow has not wised up regarding his signing of a contract, he was smart enough to pitch in independent ball which does not force him to sign a contract by Monday night’s deadline.
Will Strasburg do the same thing as Aaron Crow? That can also be asked in the manner “Will Strasburg be an idiot like Crow?”
Don’t for a minute believe the Boras hype at Strasburg maybe signing with a team from Japan, or going back to school, although Tony Gwynn would surely love that!
The only thing that matters is playing in the Major Leagues in America. There are two players from the 2008 draft who are already in the majors: Gordon Beckham of the White Sox and Brian Matusz of the Orioles. Matt Wieters and David Price form the 2007 draft are already in the majors.
These good young players are getting to the big leagues quicker than ever, and that is where they will make the bigger money. By playing in the majors!
Strasburg needs to be smart (like Storen) and sign with the Nationals to begin his major league career immediately. I love what current Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said regarding Strasburg. According to Boras, who also represents four of the top five unsigned draftees, it is Strasburg’s decision.
Strasburg then needs to make the smart decision. If he does, maybe he can get his first major league victory in September, with Storen getting the save.
That would make last year’s first round pick Aaron eat some crow.