The Nationals have announced that Stephen Strasburg will pitch his last game of the 2012 season against the Mets on September 12th in New York. Well the debate on shutting down Strasburg continues around baseball and you can count the MLB Network’s Joe Magrane among those who feel's the big right hander should keep pitching.
Magrane first met Strasburg when he was doing baseball at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He would tell his NBC audience that Strasburg is most Major League ready pitcher that he had ever seen coming out of college.
Magrane knows something about pitching spending ten years in Major League Baseball with the Cardinals, Angels and White Sox. He presently debates the shutdown of Strasburg each night on the set of MLB Tonight with his colleagues. Tuesday night before he went on the air, we talked about Strasburg, the Nationals and opportunities.
JW: Are you for or against shutting down Strasburg?
Magrane: "The Washington Nationals have very real shot at being in the World Series and winning it. They are a team built for the postseason and Strasburg is a big part of the reason they are a World Series contender. To win in the postseason, you need power arms and with Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Strasburg—they have three of the best young stars in baseball. I don’t see how shutting Strasburg down helps this team win a World Series.”
JW: Do you understand General Manager Mike Rizzo’s position?
Magrane: ”I think that it is commendable to look at the health of the player and the long term future of the franchise. However, this should be about putting the best players on the field to give you a chance to win it all. Now if Strasburg is not pitching well or showing fatigue, that's one thing—but to take him out of the line up to save him for next year? However, at present, he looks healthy and is pitching fine, so shutting him down makes no sense for a playoff team like Washington.”
JW: What do you mean by that statement?
Magrane: In 1987, as a rookie pitcher for the Cardinals, we were in the World Series against the Twins and manager Whitey Herzog gave me the ball to pitch game seven. I remember that we lost that game and the World Series. I thought that well, we are a great team, we will be back and I will get that World Series ring. I never got back to the World Series. The Nationals will have fought for 162 games to get to the playoffs. The city has not seen a World Series title since 1924 and the stars seem to falling into place for this team to be a possible championship team. Are you really going to shutdown a key star because of a future chance at being perennial contender? The future is now, you are a contender and this franchise has turned the corner.”
* All quotes used in this story were obtained first hand in a phone conversation with Magrane set by the MLB Network.