Should Stephen Strasburg be shut down? That question has stirred much controversy during the second half of the Major League season. The answer to this question depends on one of three perspectives observers may hold.
The Organizational View
The Washington Nationals are leading the National League East. While possible, it is improbable the Nats won’t win the division. 2012 is the season where they can make a legitimate run in the playoffs.
The franchise however, is looking long-term. The aim of the Nationals is to protect their investment. The short-term does not appear to be of major importance to them. Rather, years of potential success is more important to this organization. I respect this dynastic view, however short-sighted. As the ticking of the Strasburg Shutdown Clock continues, we are left to wonder about the wisdom in this decision.
The Players View
Shutting down a dominant force such as Strasburg in anathema to everything players learn. A popular saying holds true regardless of the sport: you play to win the game. Strasburg gives you the advantage in winning.
Prior to signing with the Yankees, C.C. Sabathia pitched one season for the Milwaukee Brewers. With little regard for his own long-term health, Sabathia pulled that club into the National Leauge Playoffs. The Brewers didn’t seem to object. Of course the Brewers were not in a real position to sign Sabathia long-term. Maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges.
If any Nationals player is discouraged, even angry over the organization’s decision to shut Strasburg down, they have every right to be. This is a decision with the potential to bring the Nats’ stellar season to an abrupt end. We all know that playoff baseball is different, special, and significantly more competitive than the regular season.
The Fan Perspective
I am not a Nationals fan. I respect the organization in its attempt to preserve their investment. I can’t separate the immediate from the long-term. The Nats have an opportunity now they may not have later. Regardless of whether they shut down their ace pitcher or not. In my opinion, I believe the Nationals organization is looking to far into the future. Management is focusing too much on the journey, rather than the turn up ahead.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!