Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Sure it sounds like a great idea at first, but picking up Stephen Strasburg, No.1 overall pick in last night's 2009 MLB Draft, is not a good fantasy strategy.
It seems like it would be...getting a pitcher with a 100+ m.p.h. fastball for just a waiver wire pickup, but it's just not going to work out the way you would like.
First of all, the young pitcher hasn't even been signed to a contract and that will be a difficult process considering his agent is the "infamous" Scott Boras and has already put out claims that he wants a $50 million signing bonus for his client. It's likely to be many weeks, if not months, before the two sides finally agree to a compromise.
There is some good news, Boras and Washington's owners, Mark and Ted Lerner, have negotiated before. The Nationals made a huge offer to Boras' client Mark Teixeira last offseason which led to an even larger contract with the New York Yankees. Perhaps because Boras "used" them to his advantage with Teixeira, he'll be a little "easier" on them about Strasburg...perhaps.
Secondly, there is no logical reason for the Washington Nationals to bring the 20-year-old, right-handed power pitcher up, given the current situation of the franchise. He's not going to help them win a pennant in 2009. He's not even going to make them a .500 club. He might put a few fannies in the seats every fifth day, but the sooner he makes it to the "big club" the sooner he becomes a qualifying free agent down the road.
Do you think it's a coincidence that just after June 1st many of the major league teams brought up their "prize" rookies? It's all about the free agency rules and money.
A player is eligible for free agency after six years of service, but the clock doesn't start until he's with the major league team. Waiting until June 1st means a team can retain its best prospects' rights for another year, when they are in their prime.
There's also the money side. By waiting until June 1st, players won't be arbitration eligible for what's known as "Super 2" arbitration until after their third season
Third, David Eugene Clyde.
In 1973, Texas Rangers owner Bob Short was struggling to get his franchise going. Two years after the team had moved from Washington and they were averaging just 9,000 fans a night. So with the No.1 pick in that year's draft, the Rangers selected 18-year-old Texas high school phenom David Clyde. He was given a huge check and the team put Clyde into the Rangers' starting rotation.
On June 27, 1973, Clyde started his first game in front of 35,698 fans. He was just 20 days removed from pitching his high school team into the state finals. Despite walking the first two men he faced, Clyde pitched five innings and got the win. But that was the "best" moment of his career. He was 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 1973 and over his disappointing five-year career was 18-33 in 84 starts with Texas and Cleveland.
The team had destroyed a promising career, by bringing him up way too early. The Nationals can't afford for that to happen to Strasburg...and they won't.
So unless you are prepared to leave him on your keeper roster for two or three years without any benefits, there is no reason to pick up Strasburg on the waiver wire.