As several sources were suggesting last night, the Washington Nationals held a meeting this morning during which they decided to send both of their '09 1st Round picks, Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen, to the minors (Double-AA Harrisburg for Storen and most likely Strasburg) to start the season, in spite of the fact that the two were arguably (I'm being nice) the best starter and reliever, respectively, in the Nats' major league camp. Though MLB.com is describing it as a "Minor Surprise" on their official site, anyone who's been paying attention knew this decision was coming whether you think it's solely a baseball decision as the Nationals have claimed or also based upon the desire to, "delay (both '09 picks) reaching free agency and arbitration eligibility," as Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin explained this past Thursday in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Why the timing of Strasburg's MLB debut is so important".
From the Strasburg quotes which followed the announcement, however, you have to wonder whether or not he was prepared for the Nationals' decision...
From the Strasburg quotes which followed the announcement, however, you have to wonder whether or not he was prepared for the Nationals' decision. In an interview on Sirius/XM's Inside Pitch this past Thursday, Strasburg's SDSU Skipper, MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn told Kevin Kennedy and guest host Jim Memolo that:
"...the last thing [Strasburg] asked me before he left was, 'You know, what do you do when you want to make a club but you're not sure if they're gonna let you?'"
Sirius/XM MLB host Grant Paulsen (@minorsandmajors), citing a report by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, quoted Strasburg this morning sounding a little like his perspective may have changed during the time he spent in camp with the Nationals, because the '09 No.1 overall pick seems like he wasn't completely prepared for the decision when he says:
"'I felt like I had a chance... It's a business. That's all I got to say. It's not the perfect situation.'"
In Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's article on the Nats' decision entitled, "Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen to start in Class AA Harrisburg", Strasburg explains his thoughts on the situation a little further, telling Mr. Kilgore:
"They didn't tell me anything until towards the end here," Strasburg said. "There's always that thought in my head. Everybody is competing for a job here. I felt like I was included, but you know, it's all good."
It couldn't have been totally unexpected for Strasburg or Storen, both of whom had to have heard the whispers over the last several weeks that their performances might not be the only determining factor in the Nationals' decision-making process, but it doesn't make it any easier for a starter like Strasburg, (who finishes his time with the Nats with: 9.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 12 K's, 149 pitches, 97 strikes), who was dominant at times this Spring or a reliever like Storen, who was one of the more stable relievers (in spite of some struggles) amongst a group of veterans who had better sort things out right quick.