Happy Strasburg-a-versary

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Lots of promising young guys make their major league debut every year, but there aren’t many like Stephen Strasburg’s, both in anticipation and in actual payoff.  It was a year ago tonight that Strasburg made his, and I’m still in awe over it.

He struck out 14 Pirates batters without issuing a walk.  His last pitch of the night — his 94th — was clocked at 98 MPH. He hit 99 MPH multiple times.  Between the movement of his fastball and that insane, multi-plane slider thing he threw, Pittsburgh never had a chance. With that heat, though, his changeup looked to be like a future killer, much the way Johan Santana and Tim Lincecum have made their bones off of their changeups despite having so much else going for them. Strasburg showed that night — and again, over the course of the handful of starts he got before his ligaments got the better of him — that he was the total package.

Strasburg’s rehab is reportedly going well. He may see some real action late this season and should, barring any setbacks, be ready for regular action to kick off next year.  I don’t know what we’ll see.  I hope we see something as close to the pre-surgery Strasburg as is medically possible, though I worry we won’t.

But even if we don’t, we’ll still have those few weeks of 2010 when some of the most electric stuff every unleashed by a rookie pitcher made its way into our living rooms.

Happy Strasburg-a-versary.

Dodgers, Reds discussing a Yasiel Puig trade

Yasiel Puig
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Here’s a rumor from yesterday afternoon that sort of fell through the cracks, but it’s fun enough to think about for a few moments: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Reds have had “multiple” trade discussions involving Yasiel Puig.

Puig is a potential trade candidate, either (a) because he’s “disgruntled,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times last week; or (b) because the Dodgers want to clear salary and roster spots in order to sign a big-name player, according to Rosenthal here. Many people suspect that the Dodgers are going to make a run at Bryce Harper, for example, and if that’s the case they’d no doubt want to open up right field for him.

It seems questionable that any Reds-Dodgers talks would get a ton of traction, especially given that Rosenthal reports that there’s a possibility of the Dodgers taking on Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s still owed in order to get some talent back from the Reds in a trade. That would seem to defeat the purpose of unloading Puig’s salary, but this is the sort of things we all talk about now given that the league has, more or less, a defacto salary cap imposed by the Competitive Balance Tax.