The heat's been coming at the Nationals for weeks now. This past Friday on 106.7 the FAN in D.C., the Nats' flagship station, two separate interviews on the subject had commentators ranting as if the plan for [Stephen] Strasburg hadn't been put together since the right-hander had surgery to repair his injured elbow. Sean Salisbury, a former pro football player and one-time ESPN analyst, had this to say when he appeared on the FAN to talk to Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington. (Note - "The following is from a produced/edited piece of the conversation played on air after the actual interview.)
"Mike [Rizzo] has done a great job building this team," Salisbury said. "Nobody would have thought that they'd get here this fast. Young, hungry. Strasburg is a full-grown man. I'm going to tell you what, I think it's a wuss move. I hate it."
"Really?" host Chad Dukes asked.
"You're doggone right I do," Salisbury said. "And forget the money, you're telling me it's all about the money, because if it's not about the money you know what you're telling me? That Strasburg is bigger than the organization? I can't believe Strasburg wants to shut it down? Like these old school [players]? You think Nolan Ryan would shut his guy down? It's ridiculous?"
Of course Strasburg won't want to shut it down. He's said as much, at one point stating that the Nationals would have to "rip the ball out of [his] hands," to keep him from pitching in a postseason game, and Rizzo acknowledged as much long before the season started. The plan's been in place since long before anyone knew how this team would do in 2012 and as for nobody thinking the team would get this good this fast, (Salisbury actually said, "They had no clue they'd be in this position," later in the interview) the Nats' GM entertained the idea that Strasburg would be shut down while the team was playing meaningful games in September 2012 last September and Davey Johnson, as far back as last Oct/Nov, was telling reporters that a pennant was the goal this season. The Nationals knew there was a possibility that they would contend this year, but they had a plan for Strasburg and were determined to stick to it regardless of their place in the standings...
• Listen to the full interview with Salisbury, Dukes and Arrington here:
The Anger Over Stephen Strasburg's Innings Limit Makes Little Sense. sbn.to/SItDzh— SBNation DC (@sbnationdc) August 20, 2012