There’s been some speculation that Stephen Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, played a part in the Nationals’ decision to shut the 24-year-old right-hander down for the season with 28 starts and 159.1 innings.
However, while Boras agrees with the Nationals’ call he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he wasn’t involved in the decision-making process:
Before players are under contract, I have a matter of control. I’ll ask a team, “How much is he going to pitch? What’s your plan for him?” That type of thing. But once he’s under contract, I don’t say a word.
Do you think Mike Rizzo’s personality is attuned to having someone call him and tell him what to do with his particular team? Come on. Certainly, I try to give teams insights and information. But when you’re not there every day, how can you make these calls? It’s not my place or anybody’s place unless you’re there. A manager has a job. A general manager has a job, and that’s what they should do. They make these decisions. I don’t.
That’s refreshing to hear, even if you ultimately disagree with the Nationals shutting down Strasburg.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.