Nationals Baseball: "Strasburg effective in loss"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Strasburg effective in loss"

Why do I get a feeling we might be hearing that a lot?

Strasburg is the awesomest! At the same time you can't read a lot into it, unless you want to read alot into all those horrible innings pitched so far by the Nats other top starters and nearly everyone slated to be in the bullpen this year. He looked good and is healthy. That's all you can ask leading into the season.

As for the other phenom, Ian Desmond had a big double and drove in a couple runs yesterday. He's currently batting .500 / .563 / .857 and you're hearing the calls for him to start. Of course there are two, well three, problems with that.

  1. It's been 14 at bats. In practical terms, he's almost had a good week of hitting.
  2. It's the Spring. These stats mean nothing.*
  3. Guzman paid, that's all I got to say.
So in a meaningless 14 at bats, Desmond has hit well. Meanwhile the Nats are paying someone 8 million dollars, the second highest amount on the team, to play his position. This isn't happening folks. Not unless Guzman is injured. (Note: I am not suggesting someone injure Guzman. Unless you are God. If you are God then... you know... see what you can do in the realm of non-life altering season-long dealies)

*Quick: Who lead the Nats in hitting last spring? That's right Jose Castillo. Who was second (with any meaningful at bats?) . Right again, Alex Cintron. 2008: Ronnie Belliard & Pete Orr. 2007: Flores, Guzman, & Zimmerman. (Guzman would have a good year - the other two not so much.) 2006: DeFelice, Zimmerman, Wiki Gonzalez. And this is with 30+ at bats. If I drop it down to Desmond's current level you get to guys you have to look-up their first names. S Watkins, H Cota, J Dubois.


bdrube said...

So if this team starts out the year 15-30 with Desmond in AAA and Strasburg and Storen at AA, how is that going to sit with this team's already dwindling fanbase? Not well I bet.

They keep saying "Strasburg (Storen, Desmond) won't help the Nats this year, anyway." Yeah they would. They would keep Nats Park from being a ghost town by May 1st.

cass said...

The Nats will be paying Guzman $8 million whether he sits on the bench or plays shortstop. Why play the inferior player just because you're out eight million no matter what? This isn't about money.

Harper said...

bdrube - It wouldn't sit well but neither would it if the team starts 15-30 with all those three in the majors. Strasburg might be awesome enough to be his own attraction but they aren't going to see Desmond and Storen unless the team is good.

I guess the question is - will it matter to the fans if they start 15-30 or if these guys are up and at least decent start say...19-26? I don't think so. The park will be a ghost town if the team is bad regardless of who's up, and slightly less of a ghost town if the team is allright.

cass - I'm not saying this is how it should be, I'm just saying this is how it is. Owners like to get their money's worth, so Guzman will get every opportunity to lose his spot. Could things change if Desmond hits .500 in the Spring and .500 the first two weeks of AA, while Guzman suffers? Sure. But it's got to be something extreme like that. Remember, Kearns was basically a starter all but one week up until early June last year. I guarantee if he was getting paid 1 million that wouldn't have been the case.

Bryan said...

cass & Harper- I'm not saying owners don't like to get their money worth. I understand that. But I'm not sure how its a response to cass.

I mean, if the team is paying both Guzmand and Desmond, how are they getting their money worth by starting the inferior player? $9M in salary is $9M in salary. It doesn't matter if its $8M/$1M or $4M/$4M.

I hate this whole "paid plays" thinking because really, "best chance to win" should start. The guys already getting his money, playing him over a better player just compounds the problem, it in no way alleviates it.

Its incredibly stupid. And the Kearns thing was them trying to build trade options, I think.

Harper said...

Now we're getting into the psychology of loss aversion. Is it logically reasonable to play Guzman over Desmond if he is not better just because he is paid more? No, not unless you can justify it another way (trade bait, service time games). The cost of a major league team is a sunk cost.

However, for whatever reason, the mind can much more easily identify not starting Guzman as a waste of money, than it can identify startig Desmond as a "gain" in relation to other starters. In other words, it feels worse (to whoever is paying) to not start Guzman than it feels good to start Desmond.

I'm not going to try to rationalize it, because I'm not sure it is rational. If it exists. Who knows?

Hoo said...

It's not the hits that got me pumped a bit more about Desmond. It's the power. He's slugging well and really crushing the ball. His stats will drop but I believe his power is more likely to be constant.

Guzman is pretty much a sunk cost. Regular business wouldn't make a decision based on contract but his value to the team.

But Guz could be valuable if he shows off well the first few months and gets moved for a career minor leaguer.

BTW, the return on Nick Johnson could be better than expected. Aaron Thompson is climbing the prospect chart (and passing a falling McSmoker