We all know that the innings limit would have been enforced had Strasburg not had the operation. Some may think the Tommy John surgery would lead to a longer recovery. Perhaps, its a reason to baby Strasburg more. I disagree. Because to me, Strasburg already went through the worst case scenario. The odds of him having to undergo Tommy John surgery again in the near future is not very good. It was a waste to shorten his innings this season, as it cost the team a better chance of getting to the NLCS.
Strasburg finished the 2012 season at 15-6, 3.16 in 28 starts. He was, of course, shut down after pitching 159 1/3 innings. He last pitched on September 7th, something even Strasburg was not in favor of. This gets me to the point of Scott Boras' role in this. Reports say that Boras was in favor of the shutdown. It doesn't make much sense. It may be true, but isn't Boras supposed to represent the interests of his client? If Strasburg wants to pitch, let him pitch! That leads me to believe that it was 100% GM Mike Rizzo's decision, perhaps costing the Nationals a chance at a National League Pennant.
It is safe to say the future looks bright for the Nationals. But what if it doesn't go that way? Hopefully, for the Nats sake, 2012 doesn't represent what 2006 was for the New York Mets. Are they better with Strasburg all season in 2013? Yes, but it is extremely taken for granted how difficult it is to repeat as division champion. Yes, the Yankees make the postseason every year (for the exception of 2008), and the Phillies had 5 straight NL East titles. Of course, the Braves won 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005. That is not the norm. The Giants won the World Series in 2010, only to miss the playoffs last season. Plenty of examples exist of how it is not a sure thing that a team will return to the postseason.
Mike Rizzo may state his confidence in his 2012 postseason roster. To me, Mike Rizzo could have cared less about the results of the postseason. Hopefully this isn't his only chance. It could work out that way. The players play their asses off for 6 plus months of a season, only to have their best pitcher be shutdown when he is healthy. I give the Nationals players credit for continuing to play hard. Its like the Cleveland Indians playing well in Major League and the owner trying to make them lose. Only, Mike Rizzo doesn't benefit for the team losing. Its not like he's moving them if the attendance gets under a certain number. Hopefully, Strasburg didn't miss out on the only postseason opportunity of his career. Dan Marino got only one shot, same could happen to Strasburg.