Let’s Hope Zduriencik’s Not Mike Rizzo

JH · May 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

After beating the Mets today, the Washington Nationals are improbably one of the better teams in the National League, record-wise. Some of this is smoke and mirrors – most notably, Ivan Rodriguez’s insanely unsustainable performance – but surprisingly, not all of it. Coolstandings has their playoff odds at 10% with current talent.

In related news, Stephen Strasburg will make his seventh professional start today…in Syracuse. I understand the business reasons for holding Strasburg down, but this is a team that will need every possible break to keep running with the heavies in the National League.  In a couple of days, the Nationals will have crossed the threshhold for getting an extra year of club-control out of Strasburg (for comparison’s sake, Evan Longoria came up on May 6th a few years ago). If they want to ensure they’ll avoid super-two status, though, they will need to wait it out another month.

This situation sucks. It has already deprived us of the opportunity to watch a rookie of the year race that might have rivaled Magic v. Bird, but that’s just sentimentality speaking. More importantly, this is a team that won’t remain competitive unless a lot of things break right. They cannot afford to hold their best pitcher down much longer.  I understand the people who will point to the Nationals’ negative run differential and say they don’t really have a chance to contend, but there are a lot of Nationals fans who would rather not write the season off in May, especially when the team is only a half-game back in the Wildcard standings.

With Dustin Ackley currently hitting the Mendoza line, the Mariners will not have to worry about this until 2011 if ever. If the issue comes up, though, I really hope Zduriencik will choose to put the best team on the field instead of trying to think 6 years ahead.


15 Responses to “Let’s Hope Zduriencik’s Not Mike Rizzo”

  1. Brendan on May 12th, 2010 8:30 pm

    I disagree with that assessment. First, who’s to say that six years from now won’t be more important? Second, with a case like Strasburg, he’s only going to “miss” a couple turns in the rotation. Probably not going to cost the Nats a playoff spot to leave him in Syracuse.

    I agree that the situation in general stinks. The rules for super 2 and service time are flawed and I would like to see them changed to a later date in the season. I think Dave had a post on fangraphs with a similar sentiment. But I can’t blame Rizzo for keeping Strasburg on the farm. Four extra starts this season aren’t worth thirty (if he doesn’t get hurt, traded, etc.) seven years from now.

  2. diderot on May 12th, 2010 8:37 pm

    I think logically holding him back is the right move.
    But the Nats are actually fun to watch now. Assuming Strasburg is the real deal (and there’s only one way to find out), they have the core to compete. (How would Zimmerman look in the middle of our lineup?)
    I would not make the decision based on Super 2. Too many Kerry Woods and Mark Priors in recent years. Honor the fans and give the young guy the ball!

  3. bermanator on May 12th, 2010 8:47 pm

    Yeah, I think the rule itself stinks, but as a Washington D.C. native I’d rather know Strasburg is here for the extra year than watch him make a couple of extra starts now.

  4. Marinersmanjk on May 12th, 2010 8:56 pm

    I agree, the extra couple starts gained by bringing him up most likely won’t “make” or “break” the Nats playoff hopes. Even if they did bring him up, who’s to say that’d they’d win the game. Hell, he could pull a Fister and pitch 8 scoreless and then have Batista come in and lose the game for him. (Lol man I love not having Batista on our team anymore)But, I think seasoning him a little more in AAA is the right decision. Make sure he is ready when he comes up.

    I really hope Ackley makes the team next year. I’m so tired of Lopez. I just hate his knack of killing rallies.

  5. Glen on May 12th, 2010 9:21 pm

    Even after Ackley’s ice-age cold start, he is up to .200, but .303/.452/.485 over his last 10 games. If he keeps that up for another couple weeks, I would expect a promotion to Tacoma in June – possibly to the show in September.

  6. SethGrandpa on May 12th, 2010 9:42 pm

    What would their Coolstanding be if they brought him up? 12%? 15%? Doesn’t seem worth it to me at this point. If you’d done it out of Spring that would be one thing, but at this point it seems almost like a sunk cost scenario.

  7. fiftyone on May 12th, 2010 9:57 pm

    It’ll be hard to argue with the Nats if they DO bring Strasburg up tomorrow. They haven’t been as good as the Pirates or the Royals recently, and their fan base, such as it is, is hurting for a playoff berth like our M’s are hurting for a .400 wOBA dude. Some sort of long-term vision would seem to dictate you wait a month, but the guy is ready and can help you now. Hard to say no to that on an emotional level, even if you know better intellectually.

  8. Gomez on May 12th, 2010 10:06 pm

    There are those who always live in the past, and those who always live six years in the future. Funny how many don’t try to make the best of the present.

    Also, if Strasburg’s the real deal, wouldn’t the Nats follow the lead of a few other teams and just lock him up to a multi-year extension while he’s under club control anyway? So why worry about an extra year if you have the sense to extend a guy who self-actualizes into your ace before his club control is up?

  9. bratman on May 12th, 2010 10:49 pm

    couldn’t agree more, what a complete and utter blunder. Its gonna take years for this organization to recover from the Bavasi years. Mr. 420 and Strassburg should be on the M’s

  10. ripburger on May 13th, 2010 6:08 am

    (for comparison’s sake, Evan Longoria came up on May 6th a few years ago)

    Ummm…. where did you get this information? In 2008 the Rays front office probably planned to wait until after May 6 to call up Longoria, as they gave Willy Aybar the starting 3B out of spring training. However, Aybar got hurt and Longoria ended up making his major league debut on April 12th, in the 10th game of the season. Longoria and the Rays then made any service time discussion moot when they agreed on a long-term deal within a week of his ML debut.

    I have to agree with your overall premise though. The Nats are making things interesting for the first time ever and seem to be finally driving some real interest in that market. It’d be one thing if they had truly viable options in the majors to justify holding Strasburg back, but clearly they don’t. They really ought to bring him up sooner rather than later, as it seems to me that even on pure economics the good will created by this run would have a higher value to the franchise than the difference between possible Super Two status or not.

  11. JH on May 13th, 2010 7:13 am

    First, who’s to say that six years from now won’t be more important?

    He’s a pitcher. Who’s to say he’ll still have an arm in 6 years? Strasburg can help the Nationals now. 2017 is anyone’s guess.

  12. JH on May 13th, 2010 8:11 am

    But, I think seasoning him a little more in AAA is the right decision. Make sure he is ready when he comes up.

    He’s ready.

  13. tangotiger on May 13th, 2010 10:01 am

    I’m almost positive Longoria was called up in mid-april, and accumulated 170 service days, 2 short of the 172 for a full year. So, the Rays had him for almost 7 full years of control when he signed his insanely low deal.

  14. Grizz on May 13th, 2010 12:48 pm

    Mr. Tango is correct. Longoria debuted on April 12, 2008, and per Cot’s, earned only 170 service days for that year.

    Strasburg already cannot earn a full year of service this year, so the Nationals have him for at least six more years after 2010.

  15. nathaniel dawson on May 13th, 2010 4:41 pm

    They’re also missing out on gate receipts. For a franchise that could use a little extra money, his appearances could generate a lot of extra revenue and buzz.

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