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Nationals should have inside track on Strasburg

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An article in the San Diego Union Tribune recently suggested that because prize pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg is from the San Diego area and grew up a Padres fan, they might have a shot at landing him instead of the Washington Nationals, who have the first pick in the 2009 draft. The article raised the possibility that neither the Nationals nor the Seattle Mariners, who also would pick ahead of the Padres, would be able to sign Strasburg and may pass on him as a result, leaving him there for the Padres to take — and that somehow his agent, Scott Boras, would steer Strasburg into a Padres deal.

Not likely Jeff Moorad is about to buy the Padres. The former agent and currently CEO and part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks is a bitter former rival of Boras’. Their feud was legendary, and I don’t see Boras doing any special business with Moorad. I suspect Boras was elated this past season when he was able to engineer the trade that sent Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, which wound up costing Moorad’s Diamonbacks the NL West title.

More importantly, the skids between the Nationals and Boras have to be greased as a result of the team’s bidding for Boras’ client Mark Teixiera. If you take everything that happened at face value, Boras and the Lerner family developed a relationship that can only enhance the Nationals ability to deal with the agent when it comes time to sign Strasburg, who will likely be the number one pick. If you are skeptical of the Nationals bidding for Teixiera, then you have to believe there may be some sort of quid pro quo for Washington. Officials from several organizations think that the Nationals setting the market for the Teixiera bidding as they did was part of an inside deal that would pave the way for the signing of Strasburg.

Either way, I don’t see the Nationals losing out on Strasburg, and here’s one more reason why — they have to sign their number one pick this year. The Nationals failure to sign Aaron Crow this past season caused severe damage to the organization within the industry.

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