Nats: Why Strasburg is still worth $15 million

Stephen Strasburg ‘probably’ needs Tommy John surgery, will miss 12 to 18 monthsThe Post
Zuckerman: Strasburg Likely Needs Tommy John SurgeryCSN Washington
The sad news that Washington Nationals rookie starter Stephen Strasburg likely needs Tommy John surgery was revealed this morning. When I got the conference call invitation, I figured the news would be good: “why would they invite bloggers for bad news?” So, credit goes to the Nats, I guess, for letting us in with the good and bad.

Jorge Arangure wondered aloud on Twitter if teams would still pay for pitching in the draft. I suppose some feel that the $15.1 million paid to Strasburg was ridiculous, but for pitching it is actually a bargain. Jason Marquis, an average pitcher, signed for $15 million for two seasons. So far, he has exactly 5 fewer wins than Strasburg due to injuries and ineffectiveness. As for Marquis ineffectiveness — I haven’t seen someone lit up like that since Lakehurst, May 1937.

Marquis had averaged something like 10 wins a season previously — even a known quantity at the major league level isn’t a sure thing. So, even with a year of rehab and an uncertain future, the higher upside of Strasburg (and longer period under club control) compared with the cost of a middle of the rotation free agent , suggests that paying for pitching in the draft is still prudent for baseball teams. It is a tough sport, but the draft lets teams shoot for the stars on the cheap. Relatively.