The Washington Nationals who are in the middle of a pennant race and leading their division are shutting down their stud pitcher Stephen Strasburg. A decision they had predetermined months ago when they consulted with doctors on how to preserve Strasburgs’ health.
While their cause is noble in thought, in action it’s highly flawed. In baseball there are no guarantees. Not in injury prevention, winning, revenue or on field production. So while they have the right mind set in wanting to protect the player from injury, nothing protects him from a freak accident.
Strasburg who is 2 years removed from having Tommy John surgery was having one of the best seasons of any pitcher this season, and heading up a staff that has propelled the Nationals to be a legit World Series contender.
The Nationals can’t take for granted the opportunity they have. To assume they’ll be in the position to make a run next season is very near sighted. Considering their most recent history there’s nothing that doesn’t imply that this is just an aberration.
The Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, are just a few teams who had a nice run with a history of building successful teams. What do they have to account for it since 1990. 1 World Series victory (Braves 1995) 7 World Series appearances ( 2 Indians, 5 Braves) and 13 playoff appearances ( 5 Indians, 8 Braves). Since 2000 the Indians have been to the playoffs twice, while the Braves have made 7 playoff appearances. Although from 2002 to 2005 they couldn’t get out of the Divisional round.
All that is to say, nothing is promised, and assuming you can let your foot off the gas this season in hopes of capitalizing on potential next season is dangerous thinking.
No one wants to see anyone get injured, especially after going through major surgery once before. However, sometimes you have to take chances, high risk high reward. Hopefully this works out for the Nationals and they won’t have to go through an off season of second guessing.