Major League Baseball readies for the draft – and you can get updates in any number of ways, including Twitter (@MLBDraft). The MLB.com site, for which I am a shameless plug (it’s a great site, really), will have updates and commentary. And, MLB TV (if you have a premium cable outlet) will have wall-to-wall coverage on its flagship station.
Ultimately, the top question is whether or not the Nationals want Stephen Strasburg (they do – he throws 102 with pinpoint control of at least three pitches), and whether or not they can pay for him (Scott Boros is his agent). Jerry Crasnick (ESPN) thinks this could be one of the great wars in Player/Team negotiations.
Having thought through this, I think the Nationals should sign him. And, at that point, babying the investment goes out the window. Strasburg gets three starts in the minors at AA and if he wins, he goes right into the rotation. His contract should be based on major league innings – he cannot receive the full salary if he’s not on the major league roster. Then, once Strasburg arrives, he gets USED and ABUSED. He pitches every fourth game, and the Nationals get every inning humanly possible out of that arm. I’d make him throw 300 innings by his third season – the Nationals need to get moving and in a hurry, there’s no need to treat him like a prospect – especially if he’s getting established player money. He wants ace money, he walks in and pitches like an ace. Or he doesn’t get paid.
I think that’s a fair trade. If Strasburg wants every penny that the Nationals can afford to give, Strasburg has to give the Nationals every inning he can afford to give.
Additionally, if he FAILS – and the annals of draft history are paved with failure at the top pick – it could set back the amount of money given to hyped draft picks, which would be good for everyone involved. Nobody, including Boros, will be able to ask for tens of millions and get it because of the “Strasburg incident.”
Josh Hamilton will have surgery to repair a partially torn abdominal muscle – no fun – but could be back after the all-star break. In addition to the hole in the lineup, what fun will be the Home Run Derby without the guy who set the Derby on fire last season? No matter who plays, there will be a loss of production – sort of – no replacement will be as good as Hamilton was last year, but Hamilton has been more than ordinary so far this season fighting off injuries. And, Hamilton really can’t cover centerfield as well as most centerfielders.
Texas is also losing starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder – the second time this has happened since 2007. Taking McCarthy’s spot in the rotation for at least one turn will be Doug Mathis, a Texas farmhand who has decent control but not much of an out pitch. He’s been lights out in Oklahoma City in his last four starts, though, so he’ll get a shot. Mathis isn’t a BAD pitcher, but he was smacked around some in 2008. And, he’s been hurt in the minors on at least two occasions.
Other DL trips include: Casey Kotchman (ATL), Calf; Eric Milton (LAD), Back; Luis Perdomo (SD), Knee.
On the Mend? Evan Longoria was back in the lineup for the Rays. Hanley Ramirez plays through a sore groin for the Marlins, Miguel Cabrera is back for the Tigers. Jose Contreras returned to the White Sox from Carolina. Guys heading to rehab trips include: Khalil Greene (STL); Donald Veal (PIT); Pat Burrell (TB); Robinson Tejada (KC); Rich Harden (CHC) heads to Iowa.
Barry Bonds has another legal issue to deal with. His wife filed separation papers; a divorce is imminent.