John Smoltz has a solution to the Stephen Strasburg problem. As you may know, the Nationals placed a 160-inning limit on Strasburg prior to this season since he is recovering from Tommy John surgery. With Washington currently leading the NL East and in a prime position to make the playoffs, they can ill afford to lose their ace when the most important stretch of the season hits in September. Smoltz’s recommendation? Fake a couple injuries and take the time off now — not in two months.
“Honestly, I know this is gonna sound, well, I’m a little bit different anyways,” Smoltz told ESPN Radio’s Scott Van Pelt according to DC Sports Bog. “I’d create my own little gap. I’d have a blister one day, maybe a hangnail the next start. You know, I think there’s ways to do it. And I get it — their statement is every game counts. Well, it does, but it doesn’t count as much as in September.
“You’re in your own division, you can either lengthen your gap or close the gap. And I just think that’s gonna be hard to explain to 23, 24 other players, why this guy is going to (not pitch).”
Strasburg may have to do just that. Having emerged as one of the best pitchers in the National League, the 23-year-old has already said the Nationals will have to rip the ball out of his hands if they want him to shut it down. At the moment, GM Mike Rizzo insists Washington is going to stick to the plan because they believe it is best for Strasburg and the franchise.
Is Smoltz’s approach morally correct? Maybe not, but if I’m Strasburg and I thought the team was really going to limit me to a 160 innings I’d want to find a way to still be pitching in late September and October.
H/T Hardball Talk
Photo Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE