Strasburg ‘unlikely’ to pitchWASHINGTON (AP) — Long-standing Washington Nationals “face of the franchise” Ryan Zimmerman was in the home clubhouse before Tuesday’s game, fielding question after question about newly signed No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-standing Washington Nationals “face of the franchise” Ryan Zimmerman was in the home clubhouse before Tuesday’s game, fielding question after question about newly signed No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg.
A few feet away, wisecracking teammate Josh Bard yelled over: “Did you hear? Strasburg’s going to start tomorrow. And he’s throwing every game the rest of the homestand.”
Moving the joke along, Zimmerman replied: “Yeah, he’s going to start AND close.”
OK, OK, we get it. Strasburg is a special prospect, one who commanded a record-breaking contract from Washington worth a guaranteed $15.1 million over four years in negotiations that closed about a minute before Monday night’s deadline.
Strasburg gets a $7.5 million signing bonus payable over three years. His 2009 salary is the $400,000 minimum, which comes to a prorated $102,732. He gets $2 million in 2010, $2.5 million in 2011 and $3 million in 2012.
The total is roughly 50 percent higher than the previous record for a drafted player, the $10.5 million the Cubs guaranteed Mark Prior in 2001.
“He’s coming into a tough situation, where everyone’s going to expect him to strike out everyone, throw 110 mph,” Zimmerman said. “And you’ve got to kind of tell him to go out there and be himself. Don’t try and do too much.”
Indeed, the Nationals set about tamping down everyone’s expectations for the hard-throwing Strasburg, who has been labeled a once-in-a-generation talent. Acting Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday it’s “very unlikely” Strasburg will be called up to the majors this season.