As we noted earlier, the Nationals' owner, Stan Kasten, would like to limit Stephen Strasburg's innings this year to protect the team's long-term investment, even if the Nationals are in the middle of a pennant race. Makes sense, right? Well, if this quote, via Dan Steinberg, is to be believed, manager Jim Riggleman isn't a fan of that point of view.
Riggleman on Strasburg pitch limits: "It's really kind of a joke, how much we cover ourselves by putting limitations on these pitchers..."
Well then. Take that, Stan Kasten!
Riggleman's premise is somewhat understandable. He's the manager, and he's evaluated pretty much exclusively on how many games his team wins. If management doesn't let him pitch his best player in a pennant race, it'll probably hurt his chances of winning more games, which will make him look worse.
That said, as Nationals Farm Authority tweeted earlier, Mr. Riggleman, Kerry Wood would like to have a word with you on your point of view.
UPDATE: Steinberg has Riggleman's full comments to ESPN's First Take, and they seem a lot more tame that I originally expected.
"We'll be very careful, but you've got to let him pitch," Riggleman said. "So we'll put some caps on the innings as far as how many innings we're gonna let him get during the course of the season. As far as the pitches, we haven't specifically talked about it yet, but I imagine that it'll be very, very seldom that we'd let him get up around 100 pitches. I think baseball purists through the years hearing me say that are probably cringing -- including myself having to say it. It's really kind of a joke, how much we cover ourselves by putting limitations on these pitchers, but that's today's world. And I'm happy to be the guy who gets to make that call. I'm loving this ballclub here, how hard we play, and he'll be a nice addition to it."
Okay, fair enough. He does say that pitch limits are "today's world," so I don't see any sort of rift developing between Riggleman and management.