Nationals Baseball: Strasburg IS hurt

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Strasburg IS hurt

So... we'll wait for that. 

Update - so it's said to be a pinched neck nerve.  The retroactiveness of the move and the short DL stint say "one missed start" but let's understand something. Strasburg's injury status is VERY important. Possibly the second most important to the Nats behind Max. The Nats plan for the next three years is built around Max and Stras 1-2 in the rotation and Eaton, Turner, Soto, and I think we can assume Robles in the lineup*  If any of those guys are not at least major league worthy then the Nats plans get derailed.

As a player I've noted with some resistance by some of you that Stras is an injury risk. While he hasn't suffered a major injury, he hasn't pitched a full season in years and that is worrisome. This is just another brick in that wall.

Another bad aspect of this is how the news was broken - through the transaction wires. The reason the beat writers, or a national writer, weren't informed first this was coming is unknown. It's atypical and feels like either willful deception or incompetence. It probably isn't either. It's probably a necessary quick decision** But it still feels like that.

Tommy Milone will start in his place. To add insult to literal injury, Rendon will not play tonight either as he has gone on paternity leave. Congratulations to him. Uh oh to the Nats.

The Nats have to start winning at a faster clip. The next 10 games is a time that the opponents line up favorably. They need to make a move now, bc if they don't they won't have another chance like this until season's end and that means they'll have to somehow make up games in stretches where they should be aiming to hold ground. They need to go 3-1 minimum and they don't have Strasburg and they don't have Rendon for now.

Good luck, guys. 

*Probably Kieboom too Though his AA right now don't suggest he'll start in the majors next season.

**why - probably bc of something the way Stras decided to inform them about the decision

39 comments:

TwoGloves said...

Wow, if true, big surprise there. If he were a boxer, he would be known for his "glass jaw". Dude just can't stay healthy.

Robot said...

Well, that would certainly be bad news...

Ole PBN said...

The guy is a great pitcher and came up big for us in the playoffs last year. Even Max has yet to have a game that good in October. It's more of a shame than a criticism of him being soft in regards to his health. I just don't know if we can ever fully rely on him to be healthy for a full season.

TwoGloves said...

From the MLB website: "Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, and will not make his scheduled start tonight against the Marlins in Miami.

There was no word as to the nature of Strasburg's injury. Left-hander Tommy Milone will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse to start in Strasburg's place. Milone, a Nationals Draft pick in 2008 who was signed as a free agent last offseason, had a 4.19 ERA in 20 starts for Syracuse."

Kubla said...

Max Scherzer's anger is so powerful that when he rips somebody a new one, they actually have to go to the hospital to get it sewn back. Strasburg is on the DL until the stitches come out.

PotomacFan said...

Following up on the buyer or seller discussion: there are 15 teams in the National League. 10 teams have a better record than the Nationals. Only 4 teams (all of which are awful -- the Mets, Marlins, Reds and Padres) have a worse record than the Nationals. And over the past several months, I'm guessing that the Reds may have a better record than the Nationals. So, with Strasburg injured AGAIN, why would the Nats be buyers?

G Cracka X said...

Looks like a pinched nerve in the neck. How long do those take to recover from?

Kubla said...

@GCX

It depends. Scherzer basically had something like that last year and only missed one or two starts (IIRC it was listed as "back spasms" on the DNP list). On the other hand, Max is an unstoppable force of nature and Strasburg is...well..not that.

Harper said...

PF - they would not be buyers unless (1) the injury is truly a one-start minor one and (2) they can win in the meantime at a 3-1 clip while he's gone.

Ole PBN said...

@GCX - "Looks like a pinched nerve in the neck. How long do those take to recover from?"

Normally, a week or two. If he's like Zimm, 3 months, or maybe until his 39th birthday.

DezoPenguin said...

To reiterate a point Ole PBN made, this is not a knock on Strasburg the human being. He's not "weak" or possessing some moral failing. He's just a person whose body repeatedly can't stand the stress of what he does for a living at a very high level. Basically, at this point one has to assume that Stras will be a 26-ish start guy per year, with occasional tweaks and DL stints. You hope he'll stay healthy, but you don't plan for it, and it makes having SP depth all the more important. See also: the LA Dodgers.

With reference to Harper's post yesterday, this just confirms that Rizzo needs to attack the SP problem more aggressively in the offseason. The Nats are too expensive and too well-stocked with star talent to go into a teardown, but they have definite issues that need to be addressed and the rotation is one of them. Maybe Roark can be counted on to be a #5 going forward, but we need somebody to replace Gio (who year-in, year-out gave us basically 3 WAR despite our concerns about his short-term unreliability; he was basically a good knuckleballer in that you knew what he'd do on average but never what he'd do in the next game), someone else of that grade, *and* a couple of guys who are at least Hellickson-level to be ready to be SP 6-7. If we have any hope of competing this year, we need all five SPs healthy and pitching well--that's what carried us through May and we need to be that good through the end of the season (unless both Atlanta and Philly decide to completely collapse, something that seems unlikely).

Fries said...

Nats need a sweep. I know it's unrealistic, but unrealistic things need to happen for the Nats to now make the playoffs. Davey has proven he's incapable of lighting a fire under this team's butts, with passion only being expressed as anger when you strike out (or fail to put down a bunt).

So unless the Nats sweep, Rizzo should be considering what rentals could be sold off for lottery tickets or cash. If you're going to sit at .500 all year, might as well get a few lottery tickets and finish with only 75 wins instead. Maybe you get nothing, maybe you get something, but as a fan I couldn't care less about whether the Nats win 81 or 71.

Anonymous said...

Depends on what the Nats can get, but I don't see a good deal to be made before the non-waiver trade deadline so I'd rather see the Nats go for it and hope they catch fire. The other thing no one's mentioning is that if the Nats can only deal for lottery ticket type prospects, they've got guys who might pass through waivers (Murphy, Kelley, etc.) and if so, they can always deal those guys next month for a lottery ticket or two. If they do tank, I'd love to see Rizzo go full WWE heel next month and put all of the expensive guys on waivers and then just make whatever team claims them eat the contract money. Save a buck or two for Kershaw.

Froggy said...

Robles for deGrom.

Do it.

dc rl said...

And to follow up on Dezo's comment, Stras may be kind of fragile -- but so are most starting pitchers nowadays, even the best ones. That's the way the game is today. Guys like Scherzer, Sale, Verlander who churn out 200+ superb innings year after year are just incredibly rare.

Last three years, Stras has thrown 147 IP (in 2016), 175 (2017), and 85 (2018 so far). Seems a little light, you say? Well, here's the totals over the same period for some guy named Kershaw: 149 (2016), 175 (2017), 81 (2018 so far). Add 'em up, and you'll see there's a tiny edge to Stras. (I'll quickly admit that Kershaw was a horse earlier in his career, throwing over 200 IP in 5 of the 6 seasons before 2016, but he hasn't been that guy since then.) Someone else mentioned deGrom: he's done a little better (148 IP in 2016, 201 in 2017 and 131 this year), but 201 last year is his career high, and he's only made 30 starts twice so far in his career (although is on target this year as well). Syndegaard? 183 IP in 2016, 30 in 2017, and 74 this year.

So, basically, it's still pretty darn valuable to get 25-26 starts a year out of Stephen Strasburg, as long as he pitches like a healthy Strasburg when he's out there. But like Dezo says -- and the Dodgers have shown -- the issue is you've got to have some SP depth. You need 8-10 starting pitchers, and if the last 5 of those are Cole, Voth, Fedde, JRod, and Milone -- that ain't gonna cut it.

JE34 said...

Having 8-10 starters in your organization that you can rely on for quality MLB starts is... pretty rare, isn't it? Are there any such organizations?

Anonymous said...

@JE 34

Not that I know of. Which is why teams that struggle with SP depth often instead "over" commit on relievers (see Yankees, New York)

JE34 said...

https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-disabled-list-tracker/

I scanned the list quickly, but I think all but 1 team has had a starter on the DL this year, and the majority have had two. I'd love to know what the average games-started is, across the league, for the 5 starters on each team at the season's start.

BTW what is the Astros' secret? Hyperbaric chambers? Blood transfusions from teenagers? Vegan granola? (JK... They aren't vegans, because they'd be telling everybody, every day.)

JE34 said...

Oops - I was looking at the "notable" names. Save Houston, every team has had 2+ starters on the DL (not counting the guys who haven't thrown a pitch this year).

The Angels have 8. The Dodgers have 6. Something in the water there.

blovy8 said...

The third best starter in AA/AAA is there for a reason - he's not good or not ready. That's Milone. You can expose one or two prospects for a while, but chances are, if they were good, they would be the fifth starter, or a traded for something else you need more than a good 7-8th starter. But perhaps in this day and age, they should have paid for a better fourth reserve catcher, 2nd baseman, or something? It's hard to know who's going to get hurt. Scherzer, Roark and Gio have been very durable. They might have been as unlucky with Jackson this year as they were lucky with him last year. Even as badly as things have turned out, it's better than having coughed up big deals for guys like Lynn or Cobb that would be ugly. The money they owe next year is to guys who are pretty good.

I wonder if they could actually opt to deal for enough salary relief to get below the the tax level and reset things for next year? That would be a valid reason to trade Harper since he's owed probably around 8 million.

blovy8 said...

Just looked at Cots estimates and the Nats are 204.1 million - 7.1 over the 197 threshold. Harper is owed 7.625 million this year.

W. Patterson said...

Why's everybody talking about getting starters? Even the best starters give up a run or two a game, and if the Nats don't SCORE any runs, it's kinda moot, eh?

Seriously, the team's in a slump and nobody knows why that is. Hope for decent baseball and see what happens next season.

DezoPenguin said...

@W. Patterson: Because the offense is stocked with good players who have a track record of success: Rendon, Turner, Soto, and Eaton all available next year, plus Harper (he's having an offensive down year, but that's "down year" is still "well above-average hitter," Adams, Kendrick before he got hurt. Even Zim was at least hitting LHP before he got hurt. Other than Murphy (injured and not fully recovered), Taylor (below-average hitter), Wieters (below-average hitter) and Difo (below-average hitter), the offense is generally good and expected to *be* good once it gets out of its slump.

But the pitching has guys who you simply don't predict to *be* good: Hellickson gets ripped up the third time through the order, so he has to be protected from exposure by a long bullpen session. Roark has a history of success but has been poor this year both in results and peripherals. Guys like Cole, Fedde, Rodriguez, Voth, and Milone aren't good and you can't justifiably expect them to *be* good; Fedde is the only one of the bunch that actually has the upside of an adequate midrotation pitcher.

Right now, I am really praying for a sweep in the Marlins series. The best result would be, of course, to sweep the Marlins and get ourselves back in the hunt, but at least if it goes the other way then Rizzo knows that he has to see if anybody will offer anything better than the value of a QO draft pick for Bryce, and if anybody will offer value for Madson, Gio, Adams, Murphy, etc. The worst possible outcome for the season is to stumble drunkenly to a .500 finish and watch all the expiring assets walk away for nothing (*maybe* you give Gio a QO, but none of the other guys except Harper, or possibly Murphy if he makes a full recovery to become 2016-7 Murph for a couple of months, but if he does that then we're probably winning baseball games and buying).

It must further be noted that Rizzo can be both buyer and seller at the deadline: trades can be made for Major League players with team control, because the Nats should be aiming to reload Yankees-style and compete next year, not tank and rebuild. What has to be avoided is overpaying for rentals to go All In, because frankly we're too far out of the race to be going All In.

W. Patterson said...

Where does slump stop and 'turned to crap' stop, Penguin? They're no longer producing what they need to win.

I see your point about the pitching, though. (Maybe trade Solis for a used catcher's mitt.)

sirc said...

I do not believe that losing any of the players in their final contract year will harm the team. They are a .500 team with them and I believe they can be a .500 team without Gio, Bryce, Murph, the 3 bullpen arms. Bryce has been the best of those players but the team might benefit from 8 weeks of Robles playing every day in Bryce's stead.

If they can bring back several young-ish arms (they won't get top prospects but the team desperately needs young arms in the system) it will be worth it. Evidence is that Stras goes down and the organization’s best option to replace him is a 31 year old journeyman who nobody else wanted.

I can't root against the team, but it is possible that the best thing that could happen to this team is a sweep at the hands of Miami.

DezoPenguin said...

Well, just looking at the month of July, Eaton, Adams, Soto, Murphy (yes, Murphy), Harper, and Rendon are all putting up wRC+ over 100. The catchers are all garbage, and Difo and Taylor are equally bad this month, but the only hitter in a genuine "oh God he sucks out there" slump is Turner (57 wRC+ in 85 PA). The sequencing is bad, yes, but the actual team production isn't horrible. The team wRC+ for July is 100, exactly average (8th in the NL, 16th in MLB for the month). The hitting just isn't as awful as we're afraid it is. It's not a strength, but it's not a weakness, either. The only true problem with the batting is that the catchers are *so* awful at hitting that we basically have two pitchers' spots out there every night.

By comparison, for July we're 19th in FIP, 23rd in xFIP, and 21st in ERA. Hitting is dead average, but pitching is emphatically below average. That's a combined recipe for a team having a bad month, which we're having, but it's pretty plain where the major problem lies, and that's on the mound.

W. Patterson said...

End of the 7th and the Nats have left 16 men on base. Ouch!

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper. Is there any argument—-ANY basis at all—for Davey playing Zim over Adams vs RHP. I’m sorry but I don’t see one that’s defensible. Either this team is playing with urgency and trying to win every game or it’s not. And that should include managing with urgency. If the Nats want to trade Adams for a piece and give his at bats to Zim, fine. If they want to play Adams and try to win, fine. But you can’t play the inferior hitter against RHP and have Adams just sit there. It makes no sense whatsoever.

BxJaycobb said...

Taylor would get Harper’s ABs and Difo would get Murphy’s. And who—Jefry Rodriguez?—would get gios. Of course they would be worse. It’s truly amazing that people continue to think Harper isn’t a difference making bat because of his average. The guy has a higher OBP than anybody besides Soto and has 25 bombs. A lousy year for Bryce is a well well above average hitter. That said if you want to trade people by all means go for it. I would think you would want to keep Taylor as a security blanket for Robles next year if you traded Bryce though.

BxJaycobb said...

I actually think the most likely outcome is we win marlins series 3-1 and rizzo does a little of buying and a little of selling, maybe he deals a reliever or two who are expiring assets and maybe he trades Adams now that Zim is back and maybe he trades Taylor since we have an extra outfielder and tries to get back some pieces or a major league starter with control

BxJaycobb said...

The offense has been fine. The pitching is what has doomed the Nats season. Since the end of may the Nats rotation ERA is 5.9. Last in baseball.

BxJaycobb said...

Houston undoubtedly has that many. Hell they have 7 starters on their TEAM. Verlander, keuchel, Morton, Cole, McCullers, Peacock, somebody im forgetting....Forrest Whitley...

BxJaycobb said...

You don’t need 8-10. But you definitely need 6-7 minimum to feel even vaguely comfortable. We went into this year with 4. I’m sorry but that was just malpractice by Rizzo.

BxJaycobb said...

They would want more. Robles+Kieboom+somebody else. Not sure that’s worth it. Plus they’d never want to trade him in division.

BxJaycobb said...

? The Nats aren’t signing Kershaw. The dodgers are just going to rework his deal in offseason. And if he goes anywhere it’ll be Houston where he’s from.

BxJaycobb said...

I think the chance of them being buyers is small, as is the chance of sellers. I frankly think it will be something in between, with maybe one or two moves made in either direction. You *can* do both.

BxJaycobb said...

I see 3 scenarios:
1. The Nats lose the Marlins series or split it. Nats sell lots of pieces including maybe even Bryce.
2. Nats win series 3-1 and just hold tight. Or maybe a mixture of moves.
3. Nats sweep 4 game series while PHI and ATL lose a game or two and Strasburg prognosis is only misses 2 starts. Rizzo does a small buy, like a Ramos rental. A sweep is sort of the only way i see this as possible.

NavyYardSteve said...

I haven't heard anyone in the greater baseball media talk about this in a few years, so maybe it's not quite as rigorous as once believed, but has anyone looked at the Nats Cluster Luck?

As DezoPenguin mentioned, there really isn't anyone who has unexpectedly become a dead weight on offense over the last few weeks - it seems like everyone is getting their hits, but it's not necessarily turning into consistent run production.

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