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For the Nats, times are a changin

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Fixing the ‘Incompetence’ of the bullpen  

Three consecutive losses in the 9th inning was the boiling point for acting general manager Mike Rizzo as he sent four major leaguers to Syracuse Sunday night. Following the sweep by the Marlins, Saul Rivera, Steven Shell, Will Ledezma, and catcher Josh Bard were all optioned for assignment.

To replace them the club called up today’s starting pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann, and relief pitchers Kip Wells, Garret Mock, and Jason Bergmann.

Rizzo had seen enough from his bullpen. “The incompetence of the bullpen was drawn to a head today. It got to a point where it wasn’t fair to the fans and it wasn’t fair to the rest of the team, the starting pitchers, too, to go status quo.”

Harsh.

Lets take a look at our new pen:

Kip Wells- Wells turns 30 tomorrow, and has 10 years of major league experience under hisbelt. Drafted 18th overall by Chicago (AL) back in 1998, it didn’t take long for Wells to break into the big leagues with 7 starts in 1999. Throughout his career he has had moderate success as a starter, with his best two seasons coming in 2002 and 2003 in Pittsburgh where he won 12 and 10 games with a 3.58 and 3.42 ERA respectively. The wheels soon fell off for wells after that and he has been struggling to find consistent major league time. In his last stay with Colorado he pitched 27.1 innings with a 5.71 ERA.

Jason Bergmann- You all remember Bergmann, he started the season last year as a member of the Nationals rotation and had early struggles. The Nats were hoping he’d improve upon his solid 2007 where at the age of 25 he had a 4.45 ERA with 86 K’s in 115 innings. Instead he only regressed, putting up a 5.09 ERA in 139.2. Bergmann has the ability to get MLB hitters out, its only a matter of harnessing it. In June and July of last year he we started 9 games and had an ERA of 3.85.

Garret Mock-Mock is probably the most logical choice for the bullpen at this time. At only the age of 26 he’s bounced around a good deal, only busting into the majors last season for Washington. When he was there however he posted good numbers pitching 41 innings with a 4.17 ERA and 10.1 K/9 ratio. Mock has good enough stuff that he has been listed as a fringe prospect since being drafted in 2004, and in 2006 was listed by Baseball America as their  # 7 overall.

And….Zimmerman Inks Extension

Nationals third basemen Ryan Zimmerman officially agreed to a five year contract extension with the club for $45 million.

Nine million dollars a year is  a lot for a guy that has had trouble being consistent and healthy the last few years. The Nationals however are placing their eggs in his basket hoping that he can be the guy who takes the club to the next level as he develops.

The basic idea is that each team needs a franchise  player, one who they groomed from the draft and will hit macho home runs and make the girls swoon. I guess that’s Zimms job now, but he’s getting paid enough to do it.

We’ve discussed on The Nats Blog if he’s worth it or not, here’s another opinion. 

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