Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Major Changes Coming Tomorrow, Guaranteed!"

While leaving Club Level late this afternoon, Sohna and I run into Assistant GM Mike Rizzo walking to the elevator lobby. To say he and his Baseball Operations Staff were looking shellshocked, might be putting it mildly. Briefly, we spoke--the money quote: "Major changes coming tomorrow, guaranteed!"

Mike Rizzo wasn't kidding. 8 roster moves since the completion of this afternoon's latest loss to The Florida Marlins. Jason Bergmann, Garrett Mock recalled. Jordan Zimmermann and Kip Wells selected--all from AAA Syracuse. Saul Rivera and Josh Bard optioned to Syracuse. Steven Shell and Wil Ledezma designated for assignment. None of the moves surprising. Our Bullpen has been horrible and again cost Washington another victory today. Although personally we like Steven Shell a lot. But I doubt he will clear waivers and return to Washington's Minor League Camp.

And Bill Ladson now reporting Ryan Zimmerman has been locked up to a long term deal--no details yet.

Here is the complete press release:


Nationals to select Zimmermann and Wells & recall Mock and Bergmann tomorrow

Following today’s game, the Washington Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher Saul Rivera and catcher Josh Bard to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League and designated right-handed pitcher Steven Shell and left-handed pitcher Wil Ledezma for assignment. Tomorrow, the Nationals will select right-handed pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Kip Wells from Syracuse and will recall right-handed pitchers Garrett Mock and Jason Bergmann from Syracuse. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Zimmermann was named Washington’s fifth starter during Spring Training with the understanding he would pitch with Syracuse until his services were needed 11 games into the Nationals’ schedule. He made one start with the Chiefs, tossing 5.1 innings on April 9 vs. Rochester. The 22-year-old went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in five games (three starts) this spring, and he held opponents scoreless in four of his five outings.

Zimmermann entered this season rated the Nationals’ No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. After 39 minor-league games (36 starts), he owns a 15-5 career record with a 2.81 ERA. Zimmermann was the Nationals’ 2008 Minor League Player of the Year, after going a combined 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League and Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League. He was selected by Washington in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft with the second of two compensation picks awarded to the organization after Alfonso Soriano signed with Chicago-NL in November 2006.

Wells, 31, has compiled 65 wins during his 10 seasons (1999-2008) in the big leagues with Chicago-AL, Pittsburgh, Texas, St. Louis, Colorado and Kansas City. In 51 career relief appearances, he owns a 6-3 record with a 3.43 ERA. He went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts with Syracuse, after earning a win in his lone Spring Training relief appearance. Wells signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent on March 11.

Mock made five relief appearances with Syracuse, after an impressive Spring Training in which he compiled a 3.94 ERA (7 ER/ 16.0 IP) in 14 relief outings. The 25-year-old made his big-league debut with the Nationals last season, going 1-3 with a 4.17 ERA in 26 games (three starts). He was acquired from Arizona with left-handed pitcher Matt Chico in exchange for right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez on August 7, 2006.

Bergmann tallied a 3.00 ERA and one save in four relief outings with Syracuse. The 27-year-old went 1-0 and allowed no earned runs in nine relief appearances (11.1 IP) this spring. Bergmann appeared in 30 games (22 starts) last season with Washington and has pitched in 95 games (50 starts) with the Nationals over the last four seasons (2005-08), after the organization selected him in the 11th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.


Anonymous said...

Let's hope the changes help right the ship.

dcbatgirl said...

Boy, this has been very painful. I have been rooting for Steven Shell, so that's disappointing, but I'm happy to see that Bergmann is coming up. I thought it was outrageous that Jason didn't make the team out of spring training.

JayB said...

This is what happens when you don't have a fair and honest competition in Spring Training. Zimmerman won the #1 o 2 spot but did not get it. Milledge was given Lead Off and CF but did not earn it. Bergman won a job but did not get it. Wells won a job and did not get it. Saul did not pitch well all but was given a job.

This team has to stop making decision based on Options, verbal promises from failed GM's and wishful thinking. Play the players who earn the job. Dukes should have been in CF on day one. Beard was a joke behind the plate….it was like watching Johnny Estrada all over again. We deserve better than this…this team was better run by MLB than it is now.

Why was Willingham not used and why was Dukes taken out instead of Dunn? It goes on and on and it is time Acta pays the price for his poor performance managing game decisions. He has become a joke.

Anonymous said...

I agree with JayB. Put the best freakin' team on the field already. Give us a chance to win a game or two. Averaging 4-5 runs per game should be enough to win. I say continue the musical chairs with the pitching until we get something that works with pitchers who care about winning.

phil dunn said...

No Caps game today and the Nats drew 16,900. I think that is a record low since the team moved to DC from Montreal. If management is serious about righting the ship, they should show the door to Manny Acta. The announced moves today are nothing more than window dressing. Moving around a bunch of career AAA level players isn't going to change anything.

John R. said...

My daughter and I took in our first 2009 game today and had a great time. We purchased the Section 128 seats last night on StubHub for $25 each. Beautiful! So, I love the lower attendance -- saves me from buying 21 games in the crappy RF Mezzanine like last year and let's me go to the games I want to go to and sit where we want to. (And it's okay with me if I don't get to see the Nats-Bosox series).

The First Inning hitting was great. Adam Dunn is really huge! He hit well and he showed the patience to earn walks as well. He made a good catch in left and missed another that an Alfonso Soriano or Erik Byrnes would have gotten to, but we all knew that was the deal going in. Amazing that such different body types as Soriano and Dunn hit the same number of homers, isn't it?

And Nick Johnson played a great First Base, so let's not mess with Dunn at 1B except as needed.

The Ninth Inning was a disappointment, but totally expected. Why were the so-called baseball experts so sure of themselves last year that the Nationals should use Jon Rauch as trade bait because losing teams don't need a closer? For that matter, what was the rush in dispensing with The Chief? Cordero would make the game scary and push it to the edge, but he would generally get the job done. I wish we would have allowed him the chance to rehab back to the Nats -- He couldn't be worse than what we've got now!

Glad to hear that some changes are being attempted. Couldn't hurt! I also have to say -- I really miss Frank Robinson's fire as a manager. There's gotta be a reason he led three overachieving teams to playoff contention ('82 Giants, '89 O's, '05 Nats). Maybe he's not the best manager, but just seeing that guy in uniform made me think he cared if the team won or lost.

Anonymous said...

The Zimmerman signing is a ray of hope on another dismal day.

Right now, we are the dregs of baseball, a source of comedy from Baltimore to San Francisco.

It hurts, but we must not forget the stain of Bowden is on this current outfit.

To truly contend, the Nats need new faces at C, 2B, SS, closer, and starters #1 - #3. The group of 4 now would be ok as 4-5 starters. J. Zimmerman might work out, but he is very young. Look how long Grenicke and KC has taken to blossom.

This was a long term job from the start, Bowden has added 2-3 years to the project.

Attendance will stay low until the team has a chance to win 85. The season after that, people will return in droves. Not in 2009, however. The "this isn't a baseball town" and "baseball should've moved the Expos somewhere else" parade, beginning on Baltimore tv and radio, will be in full rant from now 'till the team wins.

Time to thicken up the skin, Nats fans!

Andrew Lang said...

This team is so close. A shame there is this much panic 1 and 1/2 weeks into the season.

4 great starts in a row by Martis, Lannan, Olsen, and even Daniel Cabrera.

The outfield is better than Opening Day.

Beimel and Taveras are what we all had hoped for.

This team should be 5-6 right now, if the bullpen had done their job including Opening Day.

Tom said...

It was also my first trip to the park this year. I enjoy the smaller crowds as it offers the most options for choice seats. The crowd was disappointing, though. I did have the chance to meet one very distinguished gentleman, SBF, to my great pleasure.
It is a painful time to be a Nats fan. For those of us old enough, it's no worse than being a Senators fan in the 60s. We are in the no man's land between the Bowden regime and Mike Rizzo establishing himself. Is Manny caught in the middle ?
I am all for these roster changes.
But for the most part, (save Zimmerman), we are changing the last few spots on the roster. I would have loved to had the option of adding a Shawn Hill or Chad Cordero off the DL at this point.
I don't think we fans will ever know which personnel decisions were Manny's, Bowden's. etc. The only thing we can be sure of is that going forward from the start of the regular season, this seems to be Rizzo's course.
He's starting short-handed.
He's not being indecisive.
I wish him well.
Go Nats.