WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Should the Washington Nationals shutdown Stephen Strasburg? It’s a topic of heated debate among Nats fans, analysts, bloggers and even the most casual of baseball followers.
The young ace has said his arm feels perfectly healthy and the team is in the thick of a postseason hunt.
Still, general manager Mike Rizzo isn’t budging on his decision to limit Strasburg’s innings count this season.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports is among those somewhat critical of the move to bench the young pitcher.
“I’m not 100% on board with Mike Rizzo, because I think he’s overstating the effect that this shutdown is going to have,” Passan told 106.7 The Fan’s LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes. “This might not keep Strasburg healthy”
If Washington does wind up in the postseason the decision could spell disaster for Rizzo’s legacy.
“If the Nationals get bounced in the first round of the playoffs and Strasburg isn’t there, immediately Rizzo will get a lot of second-guessing,” Passan added.
What isn’t lost in the equation is that Rizzo announced his decision over a year ago when Strasburg was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Certainly, this debate is not a new one, but having the best record in baseball has breathed new life into it.
Being nearly 30 games above .500 isn’t solely because of one player, no matter how good he is. It’s a team effort and the Nats know it.
Perhaps a September shutdown wouldn’t mark the end of their run.
“I’m not sure without Strasburg that they match up with the Giants, but I think they’re as good as everyone else,” Passan concluded.