The horse was dead at the beginning of the season.
The shutdown decision was made MONTHS ago. It was based on one primary criterion and supported by two secondary considerations. The driving reason, and the one that supersedes all others is this:
It. Was. A. Medical. Decision.
We can argue until we're blue in the face whether it was a GOOD medical decision, but it was based on the opinions of the medical people who were charged Strasburg's care. They get to make the call. Not you, not me, not some hack from the USA Today and not the majority of people outside Washington, inside Washington or anywhere else. The informed medical community admittedly has a range of opinions on the Nat's strategy, but the majority of docs involved in this kind of stuff choose to act on the side of caution. The supporting arguments buttressing this decision are the long term business call on the value of a Strasburg who (if his doctors are correct) will likely have a better chance at an extended career, and an underlying moral question: Do we ignore the doctors, and the long term value of this young man to his team and his family because our season has gone better than we expected?
It would be a perfect example of situational ethics if the Nat's management decided to reverse this medical, business and moral decision made a long time ago because having him around suddenly made their chances to extend the season somewhat better. It was either a good decision at the beginning of the season or it wasn't. But it was made, and being made shouldn't become alterable because things got more promising in the Nats' race for the World Series. None of the people who have been so vocal about this decision recently made any kind of fuss when the Nats announced their strategy after the surgery. I'll give a pass to anyone who questioned the decision right when it was made. Otherwise, anyone else who is carping about this within the past month or so, based solely on this year's playoff considerations is kicking a very dead horse.