It seems more and more likely that Stephen Strasburg will spend his April riding buses around the Carolina League, and this of course has everything to do with "his seasoning" and nothing whatsoever to do with saving money. Right.
Via the Associated Press:
"Spring training is great, but even as opposed to Double-A or Triple-A pitching, it's just not the same," [Jim] Riggleman said. "When everything counts, records count and statistics count, regular season is just a different animal with a guy to go out there with the adrenaline throwing on both sides and the other team is trying to get you."
Strasburg has shown a blazing fastball this spring and earned raves from the front office and teammates for his poise. But his manager acknowledged there may come a point where the rookie will need more innings than he can get in the major league camp.
I realize this is the smart play, but one unfortunate aspect of baseball's Age of Enlightenment is that clubs know the value of gaming a top prospect's service time. A player's arrival in the majors is no longer a matter of his abilities or his team's needs; today, it's almost entirely a function of his arb clock. This is why, for instance, a sure thing like Ryan Braun had to spend a month picking grass in the PCL before his call-up, and it's why all those Nats fans who've been brought to full-body orgasms over Strasburg's potential will have to content themselves, at least for a month or so, with Jason Marquis. That's fine. That's smart baseball. But I do wish the sport wouldn't gussy up its mercenary instincts and present them as noble intentions. Free Strasburg!
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