Sunday, July 4, 2010

Girardi absolutely right about Strasburg

If Joe Girardi was the National League All-Star manager, the issue of whether Stephen Strasburg should be named to the team wouldn't even be an issue. The New York Yankees manager said the ultra-talented youngster would not be on his squad if the decision was his. He is absolutely right.

There's no question that Strasburg is a supreme talent and deserving of the hype. His record is only 2-2, but that's mostly because the Washington Nationals haven't scored many runs for him. His ERA is 2.45, but he lost one game and got a no-decision in another despite only giving up one run. He has 53 strikeouts in six big-league starts.

But there's no way the kid should be selected, no matter how talented he is, over someone who's played the full first half. If Strasburg makes the All-Star team, it's going to come at the expense of a more deserving player, possibly from his own team. That's not good for the kid and it's not good for what’s left of baseball’s credibility.

There are a couple of things we know about Girardi. He sticks to his guns, doing what he thinks is best without regard for the negative consequences, as when he planned to take CC Sabathia out of a start when he was no-hitting the Tampa Bay Rays in April. The Yankees manager is also a long-term thinker, as he's shown in resisting pressure to put Phil Hughes on the mound every 5th day or use Mariano Rivera for multiple innings any time a game is close.

There's tremendous pressure on Charlie Manuel to take Strasburg, particularly from Fox because of the ratings boost (and please Joe Buck, be honest and say your network wants him for the ratings, not because baseball is a fan's game--if it were, playoff games would start at 7pm like regular season games). I hope Manuel is willing and strong enough to pull a Girardi and not succumb to the pressure to take the kid, who by the looks of things, has plenty of All-Star appearances in his bright future.

Thanks to dbking via Wikipedia for the photo.

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