Pitcher Stephen Strasburg winds up for his pitch.
Pitcher Stephen Strasburg winds up for his pitch. - 
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Steve Chiotakis: Later today the Washington Nationals baseball team will introduce its new $15 million pitcher. He could represent a fresh start for a team that's struggled ever since moving to the nation's capital. Tamara Keith reports.

Tamara Keith: The Washington Nationals have an awesome new stadium and the worst record in baseball. J.C. Bradbury is a sports economist at Kinnesaw State University.

J.C. Bradbury: You know, you're losing and you have no respect and that just doesn't comfort fans when they're thinking about do I want to buy this Nationals jersey. Is everyone going to laugh at me or am I going to get high fives around the office?

The Nationals' faithful are hoping for more high fives soon, if pitcher Stephen Strasburg lives up to the hype. He was the number one pick in the amateur draft this year, and just cemented a 4-year, $15 million contract. That's a record for a player who hasn't thrown a single pitch in the major leagues. Sports Economist Andrew Zimbalist is at Smith College.

Andrew Zimbalist: They need a shot in the arm or two shots in the arm. This guy gives them that potential credibility.

Or he could be a dud. It's a real gamble. And other struggling teams are watching.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.