Allow me to introduce you to Stephen Strasburg, Major League pitcher for the Washington Nationals. Stephen was born in San Diego, California on July 20th, 1988 to Kathleen Swett and Jim Strasburg. His childhood was simple and easy, but not without discipline. The fresh sea breeze injecting every morning with hope and vigor. His father would often—good God, that’s enough. Wouldn’t that be amazing if I spent this entire blog post just copying Strasburg’s Wikipedia and making up idyllic details about his life? Alright, maybe “amazing” is the wrong word, but it would certainly amuse the hell out of me. But that’s not what we’re here for is it? We’re here for hot baseball news and hot baseball opinions. I have both of those things!
What everyone is talking about these days in regards to Stephen Strasburg is his innings limit. He may or may not have one. You see, before the season, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said that Strasburg would be limited to 160 total innings this season, what with him coming off of Tommy John surgery and all. This was not an unreasonable course of action. The Nationals had gone the same route with Jordan Zimmermann the season before, and with the team in a transition year while trying to build towards contention, a cautious approach made a lot of sense. Then the team started to win a bunch of baseball games while the rest of the seemingly strong NL East faltered. Then Bryce Harper happened, then all of a sudden Strasburg was leading one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball, him and his teammate Gio Gonzalez posting sub 2.50 FIPs and firmly in the running for NL Cy Young. All this has a way of complicating things.
The Nationals are probably going to be in the thick of a playoff race for the remainder of the season. Those 160 innings are starting to become a reality. So what is a baseball organization to do? They could start skipping some of Strasburg’s starts, or perhaps shut him down for a while. They could add a 6th member to the rotation or send Strasburg to the bullpen for a time. There’s no shortage of ideas and no shortage of reasons why those ideas are flawed or won’t work. It’s an old-fashioned American pickle, this. Hell, Hall of Fame Gritmeister John Smoltz thinks Strasburg should just sort of fake a minor injury here and there to buy himself some time. We’re all just spitballing here! Conventional wisdom conventionally states that you can’t have too much information when making a decision, and in honor of that, I’d like to make a few of my own strategic submissions. You can find them below. You’re welcome, Nationals!
- Strasburg could pull a Joel Zumaya and tell everyone he hurt his arm getting super gnar on the whammy bar while playing Guitar Hero.
- Strasburg could fake his own grisly death and reemerge some months later as an unknown phenom who had been raised by Carnival Hustlers after they found his abandoned stroller on the shore of a Louisiana swamp. The story would go that he mastered the craft of pitching by winging softballs at milk bottles for weeks and months on end.
- Strasburg could change the name and number on his jersey, ditch the high socks, and just hope that nobody notices.
- Strasburg could retire from baseball in order to pursue his true childhood love of professional basketball. After a few embarrassing weeks getting dominated in the Developmental League, he could unretire and return to baseball in time for the playoffs.
- Strasburg could just swap positions with Bryce Harper for a few starts. I’m sure both freakishly talented players would have no trouble adapting to a new position.
- Strasburg could start pitching with his left hand/arm for the rest of the season and come back fresh with the right in the playoffs.
- Strasburg could just not show up for a game and claim that he forgot there was one. He could do this two or three times.