Cleat Geeks

Surgery For Strausburg

Strasburg-shutdown-not-a-huge-hit-with-Nats-NR22H9RR-x-largeThe 2015 season was not particularly kind to Stephen Strasburg. The Washington Nationals right-hander walked that white chalk line between ineffective and injured early in the season, posting a 5.16 ERA through July to go along with two trips to the disabled list due to reoccurring neck and back issues.

Strasburg did come back strong in August, finishing with a 1.90 ERA over his final 10 starts. That was highly encouraging, but his inconsistency and durability remained concerns after he made just 23 starts this season.

But, we may have an explanation for him walking that fine chalk line.  According to his agent Scott Boras, Strasburg had a small non-cancerous growth removed from his back immediately following the season. More from the Washington Post: The growth, which Boras described as mostly muscular, bothered the pitcher throughout the season and may have been the cause of the recurring neck and back issues that undermined part of his season.We’re not sure if the recent news by his agent Scott Boras will ease concerns entirely, but it at least provides an explanation for the discomfort that seemingly popped up randomly and sidelined him for weeks at a time.

“It was bothering him when he pitched,” Boras said, in an unprompted admission, on Wednesday at the General Managers Meeting at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. “He’s fine now.”

A couple things of note here:

scottBorasFirst and foremost, we’re happy to hear Strasburg shouldn’t have any lingering health concerns. That’s the most important thing, the health of one of baseballs up and coming stars.

The second thing we want to bring to everyone’s attention is not near as nice. Someone is lying.  The information revealed by Boras contradicts general manager Mike Rizzo’s claim that no Nationals’ player had undergone surgery during the off-season. Though minor in nature, Strasburg’s procedure should have been acknowledged as such.

Perhaps it slipped Rizzo’s mind at the time. Then again, perhaps Rizzo wasn’t looking to raise any red flags should he look to deal Strasburg this winter. The latter is possible, though it would seem rather pointless knowing now that the procedure was minor, and that acquiring teams would have likely found out anyway by simply requesting his medical records, which is common practice in all baseball transactions.

RizzoIt’s just interesting that Rizzo didn’t mention it. Honestly, inquiring teams would probably be relieved to some degree to hear Strasburg’s problem was identified and resolved with no other short term or long term concerns on the radar.

Strasburg will be entering his final season in 2016 before free agency, so his health will be of utmost importance if he’s hoping to land a big contract. He’ll be almost five years removed from Tommy John surgery when the season begins. That will always be a concern with any team who is looking to deal for him. He’s only topped 30 starts and 200 innings once, which could also count as a mark against him.

Don’t get us wrong. As long as he’s competent and reasonably healthy in 2016, he’ll be a rich man. If he makes 30-plus starts and looks like anything resembling his second half in 2015, he’ll break the bank.

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