Strasburg: Just Pay the Kid

It's time for the Nats to go all in

If the Lerner family had a dime every time someone called them cheap, they'd probably give all of them to Stephen Strasburg and agent Scott Boras, and still have change to spare.

The Washington Nationals are on the clock and in the minutes after 6 p.m. today, fans are expecting to see the phenom from San Diego State sporting the curly W.

There's no sense quibbling about paying a kid who has yet to throw a pitch in the Majors a bonus in upwards of double-figure millions. Nor should Stan Kasten concern himself with a media campaign highlighting the ruthlessness of Boras, or the unfairness of the system. It is what it is. If the Nats aren't ponying up the money, someone else will.

The fact that every scout in the nation is lauding Strasburg as a "can't miss" almost absolves the Nationals of responsibility should the Southern California pitching prodigy become an epic fail.

OK, so potentially getting fleeced by Boras for millions doesn't exactly sound enticing. So what? It's not like Uncle Teddy Lerner and family wouldn't be able to roll around D.C. smoking Cohibas while looking down on the less prosperous like Oprah and Donald Trump.

No one wants the Nats to spend irresponsibly, especially if it involves lining the pockets of a skeevy agent in this economy. And it doesn't behoove the ownership to look even more inept at fielding a winner than they already have.

But for the sake of the fans, who have already suffered enough stomach-churning twists due to watching historically terrible baseball, don't let negotiations sputter until the witching hour on Aug. 15, as former GM Jim Bowden seems to suggest it will.

Playing hardball with an agent is one thing, but if the Nats organization does something silly like draft Strasburg and then let him walk, the message to fans will be clear: "We're in it for us, not you."

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