How insurance plays a part in the Stephen Strasburg shutdown decision

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The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore is one of the best baseball writers around because, in addition to simply being a good writer and reporter, he’s smart and curious about the game and all that surrounds it. One of the reasons you don’t read a lot of cut-and-paste stories from him is that he thinks a lot about what’s interesting, not just about what’s there to be reported.

A good example today comes in his piece — not driven by some event or press release, but by his own curiosity — regarding the potential insurance ramifications of Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Nationals beyond the date the club his chosen to shut him down.

The short version: there is a good chance that, if Strasburg were to pitch against medical advice and get hurt, the Nationals would not be able to draw on any insurance they have for him and thus would have to cover his contract themselves. That’s not a small consideration, it seems.

At the same time, as Kilgore notes, it’s not like Strasburg is hurt now, so the “medical advice” against which he’d be pitching, is pretty damn speculative (i.e. there is no consensus on how to best handle a post Tommy John pitcher).

Taking it a step further, one wonders whether a fight between the Nats and an insurance company over this sort of thing would lead to a decision in which even the most overly-cautious approaches to a player’s health became the official reasonable standard for such things.

Giants acquire Michael Reed from Twins

Michael Reed
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The Giants made several roster moves on Saturday, most notably acquiring Twins outfielder Michael Reed in exchange for outfielder John Andreoli and cash considerations. The swap allowed the Twins to clear some space on their 40-man roster for more pitching depth, while the Giants designated lefty reliever Steven Okert for assignment in order to make room for Reed.

Reed, 26, split the majority of his 2018 season at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit a combined .342/.453/.520 with 11 home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 13 chances), and a .972 OPS across 404 plate appearances. He made the most of his brief appearance with the Braves, going 2-for-7 with a pair of base hits and three strikeouts, but still has yet to see more than eight games in the majors in any season to date.

Andreoli, 28, debuted with the Mariners in 2018. While he made a decent showing in Triple-A Tacoma, slashing .287/.397/.401 with three homers and a .798 OPS, he struggled to stay above the Mendoza Line in back-to-back MLB stints with Seattle and Baltimore.

In an additional move on Saturday, the Giants also acquired outfielder Mike Yastrzemski in a trade with the Orioles. Both Reed and Yastrzemski will give the club some much-needed center field depth after they released veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin on Friday.