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Blogger Q&A: Nationals, Federal Baseball

Blogger Q&A: Nationals, Federal Baseball
Apr. 24, 2009 (MetsBlog delivered by Newstex ) --

As the Mets kickoff a three-game series versus the Nationals at CitiField tonight, I did a quick Q&A with Ed Chigliak from Federal Baseball:

Brandon Eddy: After starting the season 1-10, which included blowing three straight games last weekend, Nationals management didnt waste time by shaking up the bullpen on Monday. Do you see the trio of Garrett Mock, Kip Wells and Jason Bergmann stabilizing the bullpen for the long or short term? And what kind of message do you think it sent through the clubhouse?

Ed from Federal Baseball: Ive been arguing for Jason Bergmann moving into the bullpen for some time now. In his first Spring Training working strictly in relief, Bergmann threw 11.1 innings without allowing an earned run, and the fact that he had an option remaining was cited as one of several reasons he was sent to Triple-A to start the season, so you can argue that he should have been here from the beginning.

?Acting GM Mike Rizzo was with Arizona when the D-Backs drafted Garrett Mock in 2004, and Mr. Rizzo was the Nationals Assistant GM when Washington acquired him in a trade in ?06. Theres talk that Mocks being groomed as the next closer should Joel Hanrahan falter, so Mock and Bergmann could both play important roles the rest of the way. Kip Wells is 10 years removed from being a 1st Round pick, hes bounced around and hes one of those guys you sign and hope he still has something. He earned a job and a promotion so far, so who knows?

If the Nationals do trade Nick Johnson or one of their outfielders this season, it will be for pitching, but I think the biggest boost to the pitching might come from the Draft?if the Nationals can sign San Diego State Universitys Stephen Strasburg. As for the message the bullpen moves sent, along with Lastings Milledges demotion, the Nationals have let the players know that there are other options in the organization, which hasnt been the case until recently with this franchise.

Brandon Eddy: Despite a two-hour rain delay in his MLB debut, Jordan Zimmermann was impressive on Monday night. He worked out of trouble and stayed aggressive in his six innings of work. How important was that win, not only for Zimmermann, but for the team after their poor start to the season?

Ed from Federal Baseball: That two-hour wait to make his major league debut must have been excruciating for Jordan Zimmermann. DCs ?Acting GM Mike Rizzo predicted early this spring that Zimmermann would make the rotation, and he was ranked as the top prospect in the organization by just about everyone who makes lists, so his debut generated a good deal of interest from the core of the fanbase and even registered in the Baseball world more than most Nationals debuts.

I see Zimmermanns rise as a sign that the work the Nationals have done to replenish the system is finally paying off. The fact that he went toe to toe with Derek Lowe and earned the win was impressive, and the fact that Zimmermanns win is one of only 3 the Nationals have so far, with 22-year-old Shairon Martis having won the other two, is one of the few positives to point to early.

Brandon Eddy: My last question is in regards to Ryan Zimmermans contract extension. Would you agree or disagree that the Nationals potentially got a discount on Zimmerman? Nine million a season is definitely nothing to sneeze at, but if he reaches his offensive potential in 2009 and beyond, his price tag could have gone much higher when he hit free agency. Please break down the deal in a positive and negative view.

Ed from Federal Baseball: I think its tough to judge Ryan Zimmermans worth since hes succeeded on a losing team in whats generally been considered an inferior lineup. The comparisons I always hear are Dustin Pedroia (25yo, 6-years/$40.5M), and Ryan Braun (25yo, 8-years/$45.0M). Zimmerman, (24yo, 6-years/$45.0M) is a year younger, and has more MLB experience than either Pedroia or Braun, so I think Zimmerman got about what the market dictated, (though Pedroia has won a World Series and an AL MVP Award, and Braun has put up far better power numbers).

I think Zimmerman enjoys his position as the cornerstone and face of the Nationals franchise, and the Nationals have marketed him as such, so as they continue to struggle this was an important move to make to show the fanbase theyre serious about building around their young stars. Zimmerman may have been able to get more in a few years, but its impressive that he got $45 million now when theres not a lot of money being handed out.

As for a negative view of the deal, with the Dunn signing, and now Zimmerman, the Nationals have spent a lot of money just months before theyre going to have to try to sign a #1 pick, and the #10 pick. They better keep the checkbook open.

Brandon Eddy: Great stuff. Thanks Ed!

Newstex ID: Mets-0001-34388899

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 24, 2009

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