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Washington Nationals/Stephen Strasburg: Signing Deadline Roundtable. Pt. 2 of 2.

Stephen Strasburg/Signing Deadline Roundtable...Pt 2 of 2.


Ed Chigliak: (Moderator): The man behind the mask at Federal, Ed Chigliak has been writing aboot/lamenting the sorry state of the Nationals since 2006. That will all week.

Dave at Nats News Network: Proprietor of and "The Voice of Doom and Gloom"™ for Federal Baseball.

Graysnail: Erstwhile college football blogger dumb enough to get stuck following the Nats back in 1994. Those were the days.

Steven Biel: Writes the blog formerly known as Fire Jim Bowden, now simply FJB.

Jim: 25 year fan of the franchise with a background as a fantasy baseball columnist. Believe me when I say that there have been plenty of (down) years when fantasy baseball has been the diversion that's kept me interested in baseball.

Mezza: Mad Australian baseball fan who latched onto the Washington Nationals bandwagon because he was always told to buy stock when its low.

John Quinn: Northern Virginia fan, recent college grad, follower of all DC sports teams... unfortunately. (ed. note - "Writes at Federal")

Doghouse: Official writer of half-informed, statistically-based foolishness for Federal Baseball.

(READ PT. 1 Of 2 HERE...)


• Federal How much does signing Stephen Strasburg mean to the Nationals as a franchise? Do you think he'll defy the well-documented odds and actually emerge as the kind of pitcher who can change a franchise?

John Quinn: Signing Strasburg will be huge for the Nationals. As I said, this is bigger than just Strasburg -- if the Nationals decline to sign their first pick for two years in a row, disillusionment with the ownership will run wild. Why did they bother drafting him if they aren't going to sign him? They knew he was a Boras client and they knew that it would be a hard negotiation, so there really shouldn't be any surprises for the Lerners.

Dave at Nats News Network: It's obviously huge for the ownership group and for the product on the field. I think -- barring injury -- there's no doubt the player is going to be a difference-maker on the field. He's this franchise's Alex Ovechkin!

But Young Mr. Quinn is right; this organization needs this to prove to the fans of D.C. -- and for that matter, all of baseball -- that they aren't satisfied with sitting on their hands and raking in the dough from so many chili dogs.

They have two options: Sign Strasburg and risk infuriating the Commissioner's office and fellow owners with the amount of money it will take; or 2) Don't sign Strasburg and live with the repercussions of an already disenfranchised fan base.

You think things were ugly around here earlier in the season? Wait until it's Aug. 18 and Strasburg hasn't signed...

Continued After The JUMP...

(continued, same question...)

• Federal How much does signing Stephen Strasburg mean to the Nationals as a franchise? Do you think he'll defy the well-documented odds and actually emerge as the kind of pitcher who can change a franchise?

Graysnail: I kind of gave it away a question or two ago, but the natives are severely restless. Those that just saw the franchise for the first time in 2005 think this team isn't far away from being .500; those that have followed it longer know the main difference between the Pirates and the Nats is that the Nats could consistently raise talent before Minaya emptied the cupboards. Quite frankly - and I've said this before - the Nats have their feet in the fire on this one. Sign him, and begin the path forward; don't sign him and begin down the path to relocation. Failing to sign him indicates the Nats aren't willing to spent what's required to field a competitive team; why should a city support them.

Now, if he signs, it's great publicity. Then he just has to succeed, and I think he will. Is he ace material? I'm not as sure.

Jim: I have no arguments with anything else that has been said here. The move is considerably more important to the organization developing (and appeasing what's currently there) their fanbase than it is to their actual performance on the field. Don't get me wrong. I think that Strasburg has a better than average chance of turning into roughly half the pitcher that all of the salivating scouts think he could be (that would still make him an ace). I think that his development within the organization will be crucial to the improvement product on the field. However, I think that baseball is probably dead in DC if the Nats fail to sign him. The need to save the franchise outweighs the need to help the team from ownership's eyes. Ideally, the need to help the team will be the result of the attempt to save the franchise.

Mezza: I think long term he might not mean as much as people think. I'd like him to be a Cy Young winner...and stay for many years to come...but I suspect he'll use the Nats as a way to climb the ladder and move to the Yankees/Red Sox for an insane amount of money. I suspect he'll be looked back on as a mercenary starter who never lived up to his potential...although to be fair, there is a good chance he'll blow his arm out and end up DOA on Dr Andrews floor - like the rest of our good pitchers.

Steven: I think they can ill afford to not sign him, but that signing him won't be much of a boost to the team on its own. They need to win. If they pass on him, that will mean a) a lot of bad PR in the short-term, and b) yet another missed opportunity to build a winner. This team has has so many bad PR mistakes--unforced errors--like the stadium rent, Chad Cordero, Smileygate, all Bowden's blunders... they need to do this and a bunch more smart things just to dig themselves out.

Doghouse: Just like Acta was the man who must be fired (regardless of whether he was bad), Strasburg is the man who must be signed (regardless of whether he'll be good). Signing him is one step on the road back to credibility (with the fans, free agents, and other teams). Will he be Big Train 2.0? Let's hope so, but I'm not expecting to see his Matrix-style statue in the CF plaza any time soon.

• Federal Convince him...Make your pitch for Stephen Strasburg to sign with the Washington Nationals...?

John Quinn: I'm not sure how much of it is really up to Strasburg at this point, but I'll give it a shot. The Nationals are a young team headed in the right direction, you're a young guy, wouldn't you like to have an opportunity to have a huge impact on a building team? Ryan Zimmerman is in the same situation, and he seems to be having a good time here. If you don't want to be forever hated in Washington DC, sign with the Nationals.

Dave at Nats News Network: "Stephen, here's $20 million reasons for you to pick up your entire life off the West Coast and pitch in D.C." If he turns that down, via con dios.

Graysnail: "Do you want to say you've been an ace in a major league rotation for 5-6 seasons? Think about how valuable that'll be. You know this is only the first contract you'll sign, you know there's a spot for you in DC right now, why delay it? You treat us right, we'll treat you right - and hey, if you like it here, we're more than willing to discuss extensions down the line. Ask Ryan Zimmerman if you want to know about that."

Jim: "We drafted you first overall in spite of the fact that everyone knew that you were going to be a nightmare to sign no matter where you landed. We're offering you as much money as any other team is going to offer you this season or next. If you want to sign on the dotted line and guarantee yourself enough money to support your family for the next five generations, we'd love to have you! If not, realize that you're risking tens of millions of dollars by playing independent ball next year."

Mezza: "We've got the best Tommy John man in the business!"

Strasburg: They're certainly being cautious with Zimmermann (don't ask about Chad Cordero though). (ed. note - "Steven talking to Stephen here.")

Doghouse: "It's much better to have Mrs. Doghouse cursing for you than against you. Trust me. Besides, just think how cool your Tony-Plush-style 'gentleman's name' will be!"

• Federal Yes or no, Does Stephen Strasburg reach an agreement with the Washington Nationals before the August 17th Deadline? Why/Why Not?

Dave at Nats News Network: No, for all the stated reasons above. I don't think the Nats offer gets higher than $12-$15 million. And in the end, Kasten and the Lerners can say "We offered this kid more money than anyone ever offered an amateur draft pick, and he turned us down." And you know what, the 25 of us still around listening after that won't care either.

Graysnail: I don't think so. I've believed that somewhere around $25 - $30 million will get the job done, and I think the Nats blink at $24 million; at the end of the day they're not even close, both sides part ways and throw each other under the bus. Meanwhile, season ticket prices increase by 5% next season due to revenue loss.

John Quinn: No doubt in my mind. The Nationals need him, and they know they need him, it's just a matter of how much they're willing to pay to get him.

Jim: The deal gets done a few hours before the deadline. Strasburg will accept a deal in the $25-30 million range as I stated above. Ownership will make a last ditch effort to save face and Rizzo and Kasten will point to the recent win streak as evidence that the team isn't moving completely backwards. Strasburg will finally see some of the positives about possibly coming to DC and being a part of the building effort. Again, what ever happened to me being the pessimist? (Excuse me.... there's some little bearded guy in a green suit and hat chasing me while I ride away from him on this unicorn with his pot of gold)...

Mezza: Yep. Quote me on it.

Steven: Odds are yes, and overwhelmingly so. The player has too much to lose not to take the big payday he's going to get. The team would have to screw it up with extreme bull-headedness or by simply deciding that they want to use this as an opportunity to make the case for a cap on bonuses. Which may be the real situation here. Kasten wants a hard cap on bonuses (shoot he wants to bring back the reserve clause), and if the Nationals lose their top pick 2 years running that will become a talking point for the owners on why the draft isn't doing what it's supposed to do and encourage parity.

Doghouse: I have no idea. I see strong cases for politics, money, and greed to push the deal either way. I hope that a love of the game and some enlightened self-interest win out in the end. By the way, does anyone want to see my deed to the Roberto Clemente Bridge? This guy sold it to me when I was in Pittsburgh...

(ed. note - "THE END...Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their opinions, with a special thanks to Steven from FJB who checked while on vacation.")