NL East Report

Atlanta Braves:  (2-2; -6.5)

The Braves went 2-2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will open up an interleague series against the Baltimore Orioles. Tommy Hanson has the start tonight.

Florida Marlins: (2-2; -8)

The Marlins split their series with the St. Louis Cardinals. With this past week’s draft, they selected Chad James, a power pitcher from Oklahoma. James has a letter of intent with Oklahoma St., but will opt for the Marlins instead. The Marlins begin a series with the Toronto Blue Jays, and get the joy of seeing Roy Halladay in person.

Philadelphia Phillies: (2-1; Leader)

You know the story here. The Phils return home to play the Boston Red Sox. I hate to admit it, but that could be a legitimate World Series preview. Jon Lester will take the mound tonight for the BoSox, and Josh Beckett will finish the series on Sunday.

Washington Nationals: (1-2; -19)

The Nationals lost 2 of 3 to the Cincinnati Reds, including a game where the Nats tied the game late after a 2-hour rain delay, only to lose. The Nationals came to terms with 10th overall pick Drew Storen, a closer, but brace for a long road to August 17th, the last day to sign picks. They begin a series in Tampa Bay this weekend, where Elijah Dukes began his career before numerous lawsuits and distractions forced the Rays to trade him.

Weekly Musings:

Sometimes I wonder if it is a good thing or a bad thing to draft Stephen Strasburg. Obviously, if he turns out to be a perennial all-star, then it was worth it. But Strasburg, and Scott Boras, wants a major league level deal, and the largest ever for an amateur player. The Nationals have no leverage in this, with the fans or with Boras. The Nationals incurred much disfavor when they low-balled Aaron Crow last year, even after Crow cut his demands in half. Strasburg can reclaim attention in the area, and a share in the DC sports scene. Can you imagine Strasburg and singing with Alexander Ovechkin and Chris Cooley about Eastern Motors (your job’s your credit). Nat fans crave a savior, especially an ace.

But they may have to do a deal that completely breaks whatever semblance of a slotting system Bud Selig wants. You can bet MLB offices will have input on this. Every other owner in the league will be watching this. The Nationals cannot trade this pick, and they are on track to get the 1st pick again next year.  They could trade him after he is signed, his vale would be at it’s highest, but realistically, how much would any GM be willing to give. The Nationals would want at least a bigger deal than the Twins got for Johan Santana, and that won’t happen. No GM will trade their present cornerstone or multiple top prospects for an amateur with a big contract.

The biggest factor in this situation is evil agent. Scott Boras is going to posture all the way down to the deadline. Boras is wielding a weapon he’s never had before, Japan. He obviously has not said anything quotable on it, but he could likely sent Strasburg to the Nippon League for a season. If he does, then Strasburg returns to America not as an amateur, but as a free agent. For years,  the NBL and MLB have had a gentlemen’s agreement not to pursue the other country’s amateur players. That changed when the Red Sox signed Junichi Tazawa.

Of course, it’s all a moot point if he really does turn out to be baseball’s LeBron. It would be worth if he turned out to be an ace for the Nationals for 5-6 years. Until he leaves them for the Yankees.

Till Next Time