“How about everyone was given notice by Rizzo that this was going to be what the format was,” Boras said. “That he is going to, hopefully, pitch the Nationals into [pennant-winning] position. Rizzo and I put this team together. I got eight or nine guys on the team.”
Boras said he actually drove to Nationals principal owner Ted Lerner’s house to plead with him for more money for Jackson for the express reason that Jackson would gobble up the innings that Strasburg would miss if they followed the doctors’ advice.
“I went to the owner and said ‘You better start Edwin Jackson, you better do this because you are going to need these innings because we have this plan for Stephen Strasburg,’” Boras said. “And you know what? Ted did it.”
Boras also made clear that communicating to Strasburg the opinion of Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery, and other top medical minds, including James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon who’s operated on hundreds of elite athletes, wasn’t easy.
“You got to remember that this is not Stephen’s decision,” he said. “Stephen wants to pitch. But once you know this man saved your career, you listen to his protocol.”
Another harsh truth: if Rizzo and the Nats didn’t follow this plan, they opened themselves up to serious financial liability and, worse, the real possibility Boras would stop sending the players he represents the Nationals’ way anymore.
“I told Rizzo, ‘I’ll be honest with you, you got a guy who is a No. 1 pitcher. There are only a few of them in the game. He’s worth $30 million dollars a year,” Boras said. “You have four years that cost you $120 million dollars. Because of the reserve system, you only have to pay $40 million dollars. So you have an $80 million dollar decision of profit — in an asset that you have under your control. You better look at it that way. You know what else you better look at? With your insurance coverage, if you go against medical recommendations, are you liable for negligence as an organization?”
Asked if that was a threat of legal consequence, Boras replied, “The fact of the matter is, if you are forcing your player to pitch and disregarding medical doctors, are you going to be able to live with that legally and ethically?”
Boom. Case closed on the Strasburg dilemma.