Jason Bergmann Rumors

The Nationals’ Bullpen

According to Chico Harlan of the Washington Post, "changes are coming" to the Nationals' bullpen if it doesn't improve. The Nats have since DFA'd Mike Hinckley and called up Ron Villone, but they could make more moves:

  • The Nats could exchange bad contracts with another team. Trading Austin Kearns ($8MM) for Miguel Batista ($9MM) has been discussed.
  • Harlan adds that the trade market for relievers isn't good because many teams have struggling bullpens. 
  • The Nats' will likely address the bullpen from within the organization. Jason Bergmann and Tyler Clippard are available in the minor leagues.  

Nationals Overhaul Bullpen

According to Chico Harlan, the Nationals have made some major changes to their 25-man roster. Here's a quick synopsis of the moves:

  • Josh Bard: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
  • Saul Rivera: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
  • Wil Ledezma: Designated for assignment
  • Steven Shell: Designated for assignment

The quartet was replaced by pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Garrett Mock, Jason Bergmann, and veteran Kip Wells.

Following today's loss to the Marlins, which completed the second three-game sweep of the Nationals this season for the Fish already in 2009, Manny Acta was not shy about the bullpen:

I think it's embarrassing. I think it's unacceptable. I think our fans have every right to be mad, like we are right now. And it's not going to be tolerated. We're going to have a brand new bullpen tomorrow… We had a chance to win three games in a row, we couldn't do it, and it's not going to be tolerated… Plenty of moves, and more to come.

Odds & Ends: Bergmann, Maddux, Red Sox

Some Odds & Ends to round out this Sunday morning's news:

  • Right-hander Jason Bergmann, who has an option left, is not happy that the Nationals have sent him to Triple-A, says Pete McElroy of masnsports.com. In nine games, Bergmann didn't give up a run. He had 6 K and 2 BB in 11 1/3 innings.
  • Not a rumor, but a headline of importance: Unsurprisingly, the Braves are going to retire Greg Maddux's number in July.
  • Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal praises the Red Sox shrewdness by improving their ballclub while reducing their payroll by $13MM, from fourth highest to sixth. Back-loaded extensions to key players could mean the Sox could add payroll if a marquee player becomes available this summer.
  • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a short but interesting article up noting that paying for a free agent pitcher does not usually work out. It would be interesting to actually see the numbers on this. Mellinger writes,
"We looked at the 47 contracts worth $5 million or more per year signed by active players, and analyzed their innings pitched, ERA and adjusted ERA for up to three years before and after the contract. Our executive said this would be a crude but effective way to make a judgment.

"The results are brutal: Thirty pitchers regressed after signing, and only 13 improved. Four contracts were close enough to be judged either way. That’s a fail ratio of 2:1."

Nationals Sign 23 To 2009 Contracts

Bill Ladson of MLB.com has a bit of Nationals news for this afternoon.

The team has agreed to terms with 23 of its players, including names like Elijah Dukes and John Lannan.

As for a review of the Nationals’ arbitration-eligible players, Ladson has the list: Jason Bergmann, Mike O’Connor, Alberto Gonzalez, Lastings Milledge, Josh Willingham and Ryan Zimmerman.

Unfounded Soriano Mets Rumor

Alright, here’s a new one.  I can’t really verify the source, but it still seems ripe for discussion.

Word is that the Mets could send Xavier Nady, John Maine, and Jeff Keppinger to the Nationals for Alfonso Soriano, Bill Bray, and Jason Bergmann.  Let’s discuss.

Could the Mets do without Nady?  Absolutely.  Wright doesn’t need much time off, and Franco can spell Delgado.  I’m of the opinion that Victor Diaz does not need a platoon partner in right field.  Nady would be more useful for Washington.  He could handle right field for three months while Jose Guillen is out, and Matt LeCroy could spend more time backing up Brian Schneider than Nick Johnson.  Plus, Nady could take over first base in 2007 if Johnson leaves via free agency.

I’m not sure that John Maine figures into the Mets’ rotation plans.  He didn’t make their depth chart, which goes eight-deep on starting pitchers.  Maine already has Triple A experience and could probably manage a mid-4 ERA pitching half his games in RFK.  That’d be a more adequate replacement for Brian Lawrence than some sort of Drese/Rauch experiment.

Jeff Keppinger has most certainly been passed by Anderson Hernandez on the Mets’ 2B depth chart, and so the Mets wouldn’t really need him even if they let Soriano walk after 2006.  Keppinger is probably best served as a utility man anyway, and he’d get a decent opportunity backing up Jose VidroBrendan Harris might already fill this role for the Nats, but he’s no sure thing.

To recap:  the Nationals would receive a borderline backup in Nady, a back-rotation starter in Maine, and a utility infielder in Keppinger.  It’s quantity over quality, but Bowden is between a rock and a hard place here with Soriano.

Speaking of which, Soriano would fit nicely into the Latino core Omar Minaya is building.  I don’t know whether the Mets would try to keep him long-term, but even a player with his flaws is a good pickup for the cost outlined here.

College product Bill Bray isn’t too far off from being a Major League setup man.  I’m not so sure Bowden would need to give him up in this deal.  It seems to tip the scales too far towards the Mets.

Likewise with Bergmann, who had a nice year last year and figured to slot into the Nats’ big league bullpen.  That’s two valuable relievers going to New York, and it seems like too much.

Admittedly the Nationals are giving up a lot of value for some questionable prospects.  On the other hand, Bowden’s trade for Soriano is Exhibit A that he is capable of making trades that do not favor the his team at all.

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