The Washington Nationals: The Unlucky Lottery, Stephen Strasburg, Scott Boras, Peter Gammons And Nick Johnson.

You'd be surprised how many people who win the lottery come to regret it...when unknown family members surface, or when the coworker who always buys in, but hadn't that week, attempts to claim their share, or in the case of the Washington Nationals, when they receive the #1 overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft in June of '09 as a result of the taxing 102-loss campaign the team and its fans suffered through in 2008, and end up facing the prospect of not being able to draft the #1 prospect, because unknown sources are already in the papers three months before the draft making outrageous anonymous claims about what the consensus #1 pick, SDSU starter Stephen Strasburg and his agent Scott "Maximum" Boras are going to demand from the league's worst team.

ESPN.com's Peter Gammons and his anonymous "club officials" started the Strasburg brouhaha in an article entitled, "Trade to A's was best thing for Holliday", which had just three lines about Stephen Strasburg and his agent seeking a Daisuke Matsuzaka-like 6-year/$50 million dollar deal from the Nationals, which sent the DC media into such a frenzy that Nationals' Team President Stan Kasten felt the need to address, (in a Washington Post Nationals Journal article by Dave Sheinin entitled, "Kasten on Silly Strasburg Speculation"), what he referred to as the "silly media hype" generated by the original Gammons' article, (though Mr. Kasten refers to no one article in particular.)

The media hype that Mr. Kasten refers to would most likely include the same Washington Post writer, Dave Sheinin's article, "Strasburg Watch: A Monumental Battle Takes Shape", in which Mr. Sheinin speculated that:

"Boras appears to be preparing to use Strasburg, the exceptionally talented San Diego State right-hander, as a way of exploding the "slotting" system with which MLB has tried --mostly unsuccessfully-- to reign in signing bonuses for draftees."

(ed. note - "'Mostly unsuccesfully' = Detroit Tigers' '07 pick (and New Jersey native!) Rick Porcello, who fell to the Tigers 27th overall because of Boras' stated demands and still signed a major league deal at 4-years/$7.285M. Now, is Mr. Boras going to argue, that if the 27th pick got that, the #1 pick is worth two more years and an additional $42+million?)

Stan Kasten told the Washington Post's Mr. Sheinin, or at least implied, as Mr. Sheinin writes in the article entitled, "Kasten On Silly Strasburg Speculation", that, "...the team was not interested in blowing up the established signing bonus framework for anyone," and Mr. Kasten is quoted directly by Mr. Sheinin explaining his position:

"'A hundred years of baseball and four decades of collective bargaining have shown how you develop players and how they proceed through the system,' Kasten said. 'There's a time for drafting, a time for development, a time for arbitration and a time for free agency. No one situation can change the whole sport, even less so these days, with where the economy is now.

"'We're certainly eager and planning to take the best player that we can,' he said, 'and we know what number-one picks get, and we intend to sign our number-one pick.'"

Yahoo! Sports' writer David Brown in an article entitled, "'Silly' Stephen Strasburg: Pitching Prospect, lottery ticket or both", speculates that, "The best Boras and his client could hope for, under the slotting system, is something closer to Mark Prior's $10.5 million in 2001," and now Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell is making the argument, in an article entitled, "Beware of the Pitching Phenom", that:

"Unless his price drops to the same general range as David Price ($8.8-million in 2007) or Mark Prior (a record $10.5-millionin 2001), the Nationals should pick somebody else with their top choice in the draft in three months."

...and Mr. Boswell's argument is pretty convincing, as he lists the pitchers who have gone #1 overall since the inception of the First-Year Player Draft in 1965, and finds, "Nobody --n-o-b-o-d-y-- (who) has used a No. 1 overall pick on a pitcher and been glad they did it." 

(ed. note - "Here's wikipedia's list of MLB #1 picks since 1965...Luke Hochevar #1 overall to Kansas City in '06, or the aforementioned David Price, who went #1 overall to Tampa Bay, may end up proving Mr. Boswell wrong...but then you see names like Kris Benson and Brien Taylor on the list, and you, or I, at least, begin to wonder if Mr. Boswell's got a point?")

• You can ask Nationals' Team President Stan Kasten about all this silliness today (Tues, 3/24) at noon when he takes part in a Live Chat at the Washington Post.com...Click on the following link to Follow Along and Submit Your Questions to Mr. Kasten...

Federal Baseball.com's Coverage of Stephen Strasburg, by sdsuaztec4:

The Strasburg Files - 

Episode 2- Into the Lion's Den.

Episode 3- Conference Play.

Episode 4- The Dreaded BS, ND.

DO NOT TRADE NICK JOHNSON...

But ESPN.com's Peter Gammons is back at it again today, with a note in his article entitled, "Available players, Teahan, Harang, and more", where he simply mentions Nick Johnson in a list of "players being dangled because of roster space and economics". (ed. note - "Cut it out, Gammons. I'm beginning to take this personally...") Johnson was 2 for 3 with 2 RBI's yesterday in DC's loss to the Cardinals. Nick Johnson this Spring, now 8 for 36, .222 AVG in 15 games, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI's, .364 OBP, .528 SLG.

Tuesday Game Thread: 

Shairon Martis gets the start for DC against the Orioles' Alfredo Simon, who started opposite the young Nationals' starter last Thursday and held Washington to just 1 hit in 4.0 innings on the mound, while Martis gave up 2 hits and 2 runs in 5 innings of a game Washington would eventually win 5-4. Will Adam Dunn be back? Who gets the start behind the plate? Where is Jesus Flores? 

?'s For the DC Faithful?

• What does Shairon Martis have to do the rest of the way in order to win a rotation spot? Or is it already his?

• Who are you picking in the backup catcher race? I'm not sure DC would sign Bard just to challenge Nieves and Valentin for two weeks...

• Willingham or Johnson? Who are you trading? Who will the Nationals deal?

• What's the first thing you're going to buy on Opening Day? Curly-W pretzel? A new cap? BEER!? New #85 Milledge player name and # t-shirt? Anyone else want to get a Dukes #34? (ed. note - "My advice? Hold off on the Willingham shirts...")

• If you're not going to be at Nationals Park on Opening Day in DC on April 13th, where will you be watching/listening/following along?

Not enough Strasburg? Check THIS out...

Who's Listening To The Nationals??

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