Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 4/19/12
Nationals-pitcher-stephen

People are constantly asking Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo about Stephen Strasburg's innings limit this season his his recovery from Tommy John surgery.  Most recently, Rizzo told Casey Stern and former Nats GM Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio's Inside Pitch that, there will be a time where they shut down Strasburg, but "I can't put a concrete number" on when that may be. Mike Rizzo and the front office are right to do this, even if it means a Strasburg-less September and October.

When Strasburg was drafted in 2008, he was supposed to be the end to the Nationals' search for an ace, and he didn't disappoint.  Before being sidelined for a year with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 1.074 WHIP in 12 starts.  After returning from the surgery, he hasn't missed a beat either.  Since returning at the end of last year, he's put up an absurd 1.47 ERA and a 0.814 WHIP in eight starts.  He's still striking out an average of a batter per nine, and his changeup and curveball look as incredible as ever. 

So how can I possibly argue that the team should let him sit in a playoff run?  First, let's not get ahead of ourselves.  The Nationals are off to an incredible 10-3 start, and even with low offensive production, the pitching has been insanely great. I took some flak for this earlier this week, but it's worth noting again: it is April 19th. The Nats are 13 impressive games into a 162-game schedule. I don't want to be the pessimist here, the Nationals look the best they've ever been. It seems possible, even likely, that the team will be a playoff contender come September, but I'd rather see what happens May through August first. I think we'll like the results, but let's just see.

Second, Stephen Strasburg is 23-years old. He is at the very beginning of what the Nationals hope will be a very long and very successful career. If the team pushed Strasburg to pitch in September and into October including at least one playoff series, you risk serious injury and perhaps permanent damage of what is probably the best young arm in the game. The Nationals have Strasburg under team control through at least 2016, and if his current performances continue, they'll likely try to lock him up longer than that. The Nats need to protect one of their most valuable investments.

The Nationals front office has set up the team to contend not just in 2012, but for the next several seasons. A few key moves in the next couple years could ensure success for even longer. It is the team's job to ensure that it is in the best position to win for as long as possible, and Mike Rizzo and his team want to be sure that Strasburg is around for all of those years.

The 160-innings limit that Jordan Zimmermann and countless other starters have been subjected to can help prolong a pitcher's career, and while Strasburg might not be on that strict a limit this season, monitoring his progress is wise. If the Nats want to have success for years to come, Strasburg is a significant part of it. They have to protect their investment by shutting him down when they feel it's right.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Boykin: Chip Kelly 'uncomfortable around grown men of our culture'

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Danny Garcia beats Paulie Malignaggi, remains undefeated

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker