excerpted from a larger conversation about baseball that began around my severely under-performing fantasy team(s) via email. With all the hype about Stephen Strasburg making his impending major league debut for the Washington Nationals (a team I desperately wanted to be a fan of since there’s a void in my love of the the DC sports with the Caps and Skins already tied around my heart)…
In all honestly, phillips is no worse than most others in this matter. look at the poor mets management over the years, which, used a similar tactic (albeit not with as big a name as strasburg), but when they were losing and on the cusp of turning that corner they went on buying sprees and traded away the future. In that, they did get some pretty big name players who did put fans in seats immediately, but on the flip side they morgaged the future and you see what that bought them in reality (a few blown NL east titles and now struggling for .500 again). Detroit made similar mistakes, albeit still not as big as the mets or to the folly the nats might when they tried to turn the corner with that team too, thankfully, they’ve recovered and you could say similar things for Seattle wagering their talent away and the Orioles as well at points, and Oakland trying to get back on top I feel went down that road a year or so back too.
KC is suprisingly holding onto grinke and soria (for now) but it’s not uncommon or unheard of for these kind of bash-your-head against the wall moves from fringe teams, and, it’s much different if you’re say, the Pirates, who are dead-red last to just dump talent as opposed to having a big prospect or talented young player to move in order to get that veteran presence to put you over the top.
I do understand the idea of giving up Strasburg for another pitcher. There’s nothing to say Steve is going to be the ace of a staff this year, next year, any year for that matter. Some guys mature faster than others, some never at all, they either don’t actually have the talent we thought or get injured or colapse under the pressure, and the type of pitcher Steve is, along with his exceeding age puts him in the cross-hairs of having to live up to expectation and still mature to his full potential no matter where he goes. In DC he’d have that, if not for the fact that the NL-east is packed tighter than a sardine can.
You can’t help but think if the Nats could pull down a true ace that can guide them to victory and bolster that young staff right now they’d be in a good position to run at the NL-east and if nothing else the wild card. That HAS to have them salivating in the front office, not just over .500 but within 3 games of first on a team that is finally coming together. And, would benefit them for the next few years to come as a short term goal for success.
It goes the other way too, for Steven, he would be moving from rebuilding team to essentially another, but it would give him more time to mature as a pitcher against a much easier central… not that anyone wants to trade winning now for maybe or maybe not winning later just to have an easier time feeling out the majors…
It’s funny actually, there’s a lot of talk coming out of DC about trading away young talent, the Caps are now in that position, with Green halfway through his contract extention and Semin nearly done too there’s the oportunity to move one, or both of them, there’s also two young, talented goalies on the team right now. One thing there’s not is a lot of veteran presence on the team helping steer it and it seems like common thought that one of those four are going to leave in order to bolseter that presence, either in a big second line center to stabalize Semin or a big time D to really give that corpse some presence (and undo Green’s still shaking play at times)… hmmm, we’ll see. I digress
As for Strasburg for Oswalt… um no. Strasburg for Grinke on a pure talent swap or for someone like what say Clemens did for the Yanks back in the day and before him David Cone there, sure, I could see it, but Oswalt is inconsistent at times and maybe not a heralded enough player to really command a staff beyond just being a big pitcher in it. To me he’s the same kind of band-aid that the Orioles are using someone like Kevin Millwood as, and that’s not enough talent to make Steve a worthwile player to lose him over.
Don’t get me wrong, his numbers this season, as well as over his career aren’t bad at all, they actually make him look better than he probably is, ave 30 starts/ 200 IP a season, just under a 1/HIP and over 1/WHIP with a career 3.2 ERA, but it’s those implosions and the fact that he’s already got a decade of time on his arm make me wonder how the Nats would handle him if he did decline. The rest of that starting staff is very young (apart from Livan) Oz would have to really step it up playing in the NL-east, which features the mets (when they want to play), atlanta, florida and of course the Phils (when the bats wake back up) which is a far cry talent wise from, say, the central where your only perenial powerhouse is the currently slumping Cards.
The darkhorses for Oz would be more likely to the AL, which, sadly, would probably kill him because of the different style the AL has to hitting and pitching (always fun watching NL guys squirm on the mound coming over, way more funny than watching lifetime AL guys try to hit and we know how bad some of them really are at it)
anyway, don’t like the idea of Oz to the Nats for Strasburg, not for the Nats and Oz anyhow, looking at it from the point of view of the other two though, wouldn’t be a bad move at all…!