There's been quite a bit made of the idea that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has an agreement - written or understood - with Stephen Strasburg's agent, Scott Boras, about how many innings the pitcher will throw this season. But Rizzo said today no such agreement exists in any form.
Speaking for his weekly blog entry with MASNSports.com, Rizzo said he began laying out the meticulous pitching plan the Nationals have put in place with Strasburg this season well before the team drafted Strasburg with the No. 1 pick last year. He said he told Boras what the Nationals were thinking with regard to Strasburg's workload while they negotiated the right-hander's $15.1 million contract, but added "there was never an agreement with his agent."
"I'm under no obligation to do that," Rizzo said. "I do what's best for the players and what's best for the Washington Nationals. We develop the player. The agency doesn't develop the player. The player doesn't develop the player. There certainly was no agreement, written or unwritten, or perceived or unperceived, whatever it is."
The Nationals planned to have Strasburg throw 150-160 innings this year, and will limit him to around 100 innings in the majors this year as part of that plan. Rizzo told Boras that plan during contract negotiations last year, and said Boras was on board with it the whole time.
"I do know Scott and I discussed what my thoughts were, and how I was going to do, and I kept him informed all the way, so he could keep Stephen informed the whole way. And when we did sign him and prepare him to go to the (Arizona) Fall League, communication is the key for me. I certainly don't want to keep the agent in the dark. I've developed Scott's players before, (Diamondbacks shortstop) Stephen Drew, for one. He trust my scouting abilities and knows that I know how to develop players for short-term success, not for long-term gains. We were on the same page the whole way."
He also said the chance of exposing Strasburg to Super Two status was not a consideration in when to bring Strasburg to the majors, and added Boras' agency did not push the timetable whatsoever.
"You didn't hear a word from the Boras camp that it was going too slow, or too fast, or any of that arbitration stuff that was going around, that we weren't bringing him to the big leagues because of that. Which was not true, because if that was the only qualification, we could have done it three weeks earlier."
The entire topic of Rizzo's blog entry this week was how he devised his pitching plan for Strasburg, and the full Q-and-A will be available on MASNSports.com tomorrow.