The future of Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals is in doubt.
There is rejoicing in Nats Town. For the first time since the Lerner family took over (or so it seems), the team has done right by its fans, and done right by the organization. They signed No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a $15.67 million major-league deal.
The deal is a win-win for everyone involved.
Obviously Strassy wins. He's now a rich man, the recipient of the largest draft bonus in major league history. With his strong reputation, he's earned a major-league deal, which helps to shorten his time frame to the majors, even if he were to struggle in the minors.
Scott Boras wins. Whatever his cut of the deal, it's a big chunk of money for someone who probably never wears the same tailored suit twice.
Ted Lerner, the ancient owner of the Nats, certainly wins. He didn't have to shell out $50 million of his hard-earned bucks, as the first few rumors of what Boras's demands would be foretold.
In the end, he didn't even have to shell out $20 million. Considering the explosion of revenues in major league baseball and regular ol' inflation, Strasburg's deal is completely in line with the previous record deal, set by Mark Prior.
If it's possible to get a bargain at record prices, the Nats sure did.
Interim GM Mike Rizzo might've even won. Will his work on this contract (even if it was presumably handled on a level above him) help secure his job status, as the Nats' three-man GM search appears to be winding down?
But the big winners are the fans. For too long, this team has done the wrong thing, even flauting when they've done a poor job (such as last year's botched first-round negotiations.) They did the right thing; they signed the player they needed to sign, adding front-line talent to a farm system that's much more barren than the team claims.
With this signing, at least, the fans got a real commitment from the ownership group that they're not always going to do things on the cheap -- sometimes, when the moons and stars are aligned, they're willing to actually write that big check.
Now the most cynical fans could point out other mistakes with this draft, but this one big move washes away any sins from the other... at least for one night.