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A New Episode Of The STRASBURG FILES: Washington Nationals' #1 Pick At Risk...

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STRASBURG FILES...

Someone forgot to keep the fires going this winter, so the Hot Stove's been lukewarm at best and it's cooling down even more now...There's really very little news to be had, but it seems all eyes in the DC baseball world have turned toward an article out of the San Diego Union-Tribune, by Staff Writer Tom Krasovic entitled, "Aztecs pitching ace Strasburg may top Padres' wish list for June Draft", which is all about the San Diego Padres' interest in "steering" San Diego State starter and San Diego, California native, Stephen Strasburg, (who as of right now projects as the number one pick in the '09 draft) away from the teams with the top two picks and toward the Padres who were only the third-worst team in baseball this past season...

Which is where this gets interesting for DC baseball fans and their Washington Nationals, owners of the 1st pick in the Draft...Mr. Krasovic notes that Strasburg grew up a fan of the Padres, and remains one, so there's an obvious appeal in pitching for your hometown team, (which is undergoing a major overhaul due to personal circumstances in the owners' lives which I have no interest in looking into), but with new ownership pending and the Padres probably needing some good PR to get back in the fans' good graces, what better move to make than signing up a hometown product, and a potential staff ace? 

Mr. Krasovic does note, however, that San Diego, "...shouldn't expect a hometown discount," since Strasburg is represented by someone DC Baseball fans became intimately familiar with this winter, one Mr. Scott "Maximum" Boras, who dangled a prize free agent first baseman in front of the DC Faithful's eyes, (though some turned away), and then steered his client toward New York, (which was his client's choice anyway), for what might not have even been the biggest offer on the table...

So, Mr. Krasovic's plan...

"The Padres must make a competitive offer to bring their hometown advantage into play, which could persuade Boras to steer Strasburg past the Nationals and Mariners."

Later in the article, Mr. Krasovic goes on to explain some of the background in the Padres' organization, their draft picks, and their approach to scouting and signing players. The Nationals were able to let Strasburg's agent get a good look at how they were running their organization when they made their play for the "Yankees' New First Baseman" this Winter. After the Yankees got their man, (or I guess, "one of their men", more accurately), Mr. Boras was kind enough to get in touch with Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, who described the exchange in a post at the Nationals Journal entitled, "Boras: For Tex it just came down to winning", where Mr. Boras was quoted as stating:

"('It's clear you've got an ownership group committed to being successful... There's a passion there about what they want to get done,' Boras said.)"

After "comforting" the Nationals that there was nothing else they could have done to lure his client to DC, Mr. Boras continued to praise what he described to Mr. Harlan as Washington's, "...very concerted and professional approach..." 

Which leaves us with some questions? What is Stephen Strasburg going to be looking for in an organization? He knows he'll get #1 overall money wherever he goes in the top few picks, since any team would be thrilled to have him fall in their laps the way he's pitched thus far on both the collegiate and international level, so if Mr. Boras were to "steer" him away from Washington, or the Seattle Mariners, who, (obviously), have the 2nd pick in '09, it would have to be an impressive offer from San Diego. With the Nationals, Strasburg could be the ace of a young impressive selection of arms that are just making their way to the Major League level, on a team built to compete when he'd be in his prime. (ed. note - "Depending on when you think the "PLAN" actually started...")...I'm not intimately familiar with the Padres' or Mariners' systems...Where do they stand in comparison to DC's? I know some Mariners fans have come around before...What do you think? Padres fans? Is Jeff Moorad, who is set to take over San Diego's operations more impressive than the ownership group in DC? 

(ed. note - "Just a reminder...Eric SanInocencio, host of Baseball Digest Daily Livehas the interview he conducted with Stephen Strasburg for the BDD Live College Baseball Preview coming up on 1/24/09 at 12:00 pm...I'm not promising any insight from Mr. Strasburg as to where he'd like to play next season, (I have no info as to the content of the interview), but at least DC fans can get a feel for the player most Nationals fans seem to have already anointed their savior...(ed. note - "Is 'top choice' less imposing?"))