The Nats did not agree with Boras to limit Strasburg's innings

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Strasburg closeup.jpgThe Nationals are going to do the right thing and limit Stephen Strasburg’s innings this year. Contrary to what Jon Heyman and Peter Gammons have reported in the past, however, they are not obligated to do so by contract.  That’s the story from MASN’s Ben Goessling, who spoke to Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo about it:

“I’m under no obligation to do that,” Rizzo said. “I do what’s best for
the players and what’s best for the Washington Nationals. We develop the
player. The agency doesn’t develop the player. The player doesn’t
develop the player. There certainly was no agreement, written or
unwritten, or perceived or unperceived, whatever it is.”

According to Goessling the team talked with Boras last year about their
plans to limit Strasburg’s workload, but no deal was struck. And really, it strains credulity that a team would cede on-the-field considerations like innings counts and the like to the player via agreement, written or unwritten.

Makes me wonder, though, what Gammons and Heyman were working off of when they reported to the contrary. They have to know that such a move is unprecedented. Likewise Boras has no incentive that I can see to make something like that up.  Crossed wires, I guess.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

Getty Images
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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.