This passage from Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle is a couple of days old, but it’s still a head-scratcher:
Mike Rizzo kept saying Stephen Strasburg wasn’t ready for the majors, even when Strasburg tore through spring training like a hurricane and dazzled in the minor leagues.
Tuesday’s stunning debut should have been Strasburg’s 11th big-league start, not his first, and the Nats should be in the thick of the division race.
Talk about misreading the emotional makeup of the No. 1 draft pick.
Ostler may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t believe that keeping Strasburg down until June 8th was a service time move as opposed to a readiness move. Which would normally be fine — sometimes ignorance of such things makes it easier to enjoy baseball — but in this case his ignorance is being used to criticize Mike Rizzo unfairly, and that’s not cool.
Rizzo may be fibbing about why Strasburg was on the farm so long, but the silly rules in place all but require that. And all of us, save Scott Ostler, seemed to know it.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.