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Does Bergmann Belong in '09 Rotation?

For the longest time, Jason Bergmann has been too inconsistent to ever really figure into the team's future rotation. But perhaps that's finally changed. Today, I was talking to a few people, Bergmann included, about the right-hander's development this season, and whether it's changed his standing within the organization. Even now, we hear about the young arms: Lannan, Balester, Zimmermann. Those are the guys the Nats are counting on for 2009.

But Bergmann?

Well, finally... it looks like a yes.

Manny Acta said this:

"He's done a good job for a very extended period of time now, which he hadn't done in the past. So I hope that's the way he's feeling and he continues to do it for us, so he can pencil himself in here for the future. Because in the past he's been on-and-off, on-and-off. And he has sustained this type of success for a longer period of time now... We have two months to go and right now I don't see any reason why he'll get himself out of the mix (for 2009)."

I found Tim Redding's take on Bergmann's development quite interesting, which is why I'll post it a foreboding chunk. When I was talking to Redding today, I didn't even ask more than a question or two. He just kept talking... But it was all good stuff. As always with Bergmann, confidence and self-belief is at the heart of the conversation.

"You know, after (Bergmann) got sent down earlier in the year he came back, he was throwing the ball really well for about a month or so, and then he hit another bump in the road like the one before he'd got sent down. And when he first came back up it just seemed like he was pitching with so much confidence. He just knew he could get people out. It didn't matter what pitch he threw, what the situation was. He executed his pitches the way he could. He did a phenomenal job. And it seemed like he almost thought it was too good to be true. And that's when he started getting rattled a bit more. I remember - what game was it where he gave up three or four in the first? I told him in the dugout after the inning: You need to go back out there and remember that when you first came up here after you got recalled, you were pitching like you belonged here. You just went out there and you threw with confidence, you threw with conviction. You didn't make mistakes because you were timid. You were just going out there and saying, 'Here's my best stuff. Try to beat me.' And I said, 'Now you almost look like you think that's too good to be true. You're trying to be a location guy instead of a stuff guy.' And when he starts trying to pinpoint his pitches, he's in trouble. As I've always been told, never substitute location for stuff. Just throw the pitch you want to throw with 100-percent conviction and try to throw it to a general area. Obviously you can't just throw it anywhere, but don't ... listen, he can throw it 93-94-95, and yet some games out there he's 88-89-90. I'm like, What are you doing? Why? You don't have to go easy. It's just one of those situations where only now is he starting to realize that he belongs here at this level.

"He's a different bird as far as his mental approach. He talks a good game; he talks sometimes like he's a leader and like maybe he's more knowledgeable than he really is. But I think in some forms at times, like any young guy: You're scared. You don't know if your next start is your last start. It's like, OK, I've had three good starts in a row, but if I go out and give up seven runs in my next start, am I going to go back down to Class AAA? Are they going to give up on me? I've been through that. You can have some good starts, you're on Cloud 9, and then you give up five in three, you have 90 pitches, and you're like, Oh God, here we go again. I have to prove myself again."

---

A few other pre-game notes...

* The Nats are going to use Garrett Mock as a spot-starter for Monday. Odalis Perez was originally supposed to take that game, but because of the doubleheader yesterday, everything is getting pushed back. Perez will pitch Tuesday. This is strictly a one-time deal for Mock. After Monday, it's back to the 'pen.

* Paul Lo Duca signed with the Marlins today. And he's reporting to the minor leagues.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 8, 2008; 7:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Pitching at its best

Comments

I think he should be in the '09 rotation to start. But if he's inconsistent, the Nationals shouldn't hesitate to plug in someone else.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 8, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Tim Redding gets it.
Someday he'll be a very good pitching coach.

Posted by: Tom | August 8, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I love Emilio leading off with a bunt. It didn't work out this time - but I like those chances better than anything willie harris or felipe would be doingup there.

Posted by: 1938FratStreet | August 8, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Bergman deserves to be there. I'm hoping Redding will be there too. Sounds like he's good for the younger guys. Plus, he's been solid this year.

Is there any chance now that Perez could still be traded for something of value?

Posted by: Expos Fan | August 8, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

09 rotation?
1-Redding
2-Lannan
3-Bergmann
4-Balester
5- Hopefully a stud free agent who would pitch first but more likely than not it will be some re-tread random guy (i.e. Odalis Perez, Esteban Loaiza, etc.)

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 8, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I give the Nats credit for bothering to bat in the 9th.

Posted by: mrm0to | August 8, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Nats are lucky they weren't no hit, Sabathia is a stud no doubt finishes what he starts not looking to the bullpen after the sixth or seventh wants to be known as a pitcher who completes games. I am anxious to see how competitive the nats will be this weekend against a team fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | August 8, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I remember back in 2005, Frank Robinson started Jason Bergman in that last series at RFK. He didn't win but he piched really well. I thought for sure he'd be a fixture in the rotation the next year. He's always had the potential; he simply had to translate that potential into wins.

I think he's finally

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | August 8, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Mussina talked about that fear in Feinstein's new book. The constant fear starters have that they're one bad outing from ending their career. Even the best ones have it.

Bergmann should read Feinstein's book, for that reason and also because he's mentioned on page 260. ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 8, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

So I did just get home tonight and saw the loss. How was the game otherwise? Was it all Sabathia?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 8, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

When are they going to add Martis to the 40 man roster so they can call him up in September? Why have Brian sanches on the 40 man roster. He stinks

Posted by: Shairon Martis's mother | August 8, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I heard on the game that Boone is rehabing, but is not ready yet. Is there any reason for this guy to play for the Nats again this year or ever? I am down with the youth movement. All the veteran hitters they have brought in have been a disappointment

Posted by: Joe Fan | August 8, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Sabathia is an ace... just throw a boatload of cash at him in the offseason. I know thats not smart baseball, to throw big cash at a pitcher, especially an overweight one who might be prone to injury due to that down the road, but this guy straight owns the NL.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 8, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I need to get out of this dream world though, after chastising people for thinking the Nationals could somehow land Teixiera and Sheets.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 8, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

other than his injury, which turned out to be more serious than thought (shockingly), i thought he was the one veteran signing that both made sense and worked out. he covered both corners when healthy and, while he didn't light the world on fire offensively, he was at least respectable. his numbers have been comparable with zimmerman and milledge this year, and he was signed as a backup.

Posted by: 231 | August 8, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

by "he," i meant boone.

Posted by: 231 | August 8, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann absolutely belongs. There should be no question except that this organization seems determined to make him the pitching version of Ryan Church. The change him from role to role, up, down, up. Why would he have confidence issues? I mean, last season he was one of the better pitchers in baseball for a month. He'd earned his rotation spot. But then after a couple rough starts--nay, a couple rough *innings* he was down to Columbus. Can't imagine why he'd feel like he needs to be perfect.

Bergmann isn't a future #1, but he's easily one of the best 100-120 pitchers in baseball. How this team would even have a question about his viability in the rotation is beyond me.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | August 8, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

No shame in losing this one to one of the best arms in baseball. Another tough one tomorrow in Sheets.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 8, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann is only 26 why shouldnt he be part of our rebuilding plan? He has been around a while and yes has taken a beating every once and a while but his WHIP ERA and IP/GS are all higher than Redding plus he is 4 years younger! These are all good signs and he should not be asked to be #1 but why cant we have a solid #4 for years to come as the team brings up prospects

Posted by: The Plan | August 8, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Boone was one of the better free agent signings, but there seems to be no point in playing him. Play the kids. Unless of course you activate Boone and dfa someone like Orr. Orr should be on the Canadian olympic team not on the Nats

Posted by: anti Orr | August 9, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking it when I posted above, but I don't think I said it. I'd be really bummed if JBerg WASN'T part of the future.

Isn't everyone on this team learning right now?

Jason: keep listening to Tim.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 9, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree with SoCH. Bergman seems to be the the Church of our pitchers. Let him go to the Mets or Yankees and then watch this guy. There should no question that he is part of the future. I am not sure why the FO seems to single out certain players and show them a complete lack of respect. It seems like the resident A-hole (aka Jimbo Bimbo) has to bully someone. First it was Church and now it is Bergman.

Posted by: mjames | August 9, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Sabathia Rules
We did not lose. CC won.
We're still Major League.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 9, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

It seems like the resident A-hole (aka Jimbo Bimbo) has to bully someone. First it was Church and now it is Bergman.

Posted by: mjames | August 9, 2008 7:21 AM

No one bullied Bergman. Bergman went into the minors this year because he fell apart in the Philadelphia game and the game after that. His mechanics, and more importantly, his mental processes broke down. When he returned he started back with 19 scoreless innings. An example of the second version of Bergman '08 is when he gave up a slew of runs in the recent series and yet hung in there for at least 6 innings, something he would not have done earlier in the season.

Did Bowden bully Church? I do not agree with your choice of words, mjames. Acta determined the playing time of Church.

From what I observed the players that could conceivably complain are the ones who are on the yo-yo between the minors and here because they are temporary roster fill-ins due to injuries on the parent club. I do not think that they carry any illusions with them on their status.

Posted by: Dale | August 9, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I tip my hat to Sabathia. I think that he had the Nationals even before he threw the first pitch as evidenced by Willie Harris' words. Milledge seemed to be the only Nats batter who appeared unfazed.

Why is Kearns batting 4th? It can not be for RBI production or for power. Milledge and Flores should be there instead. I would love to hear in Acta's own words his thinking regarding this.

Posted by: Dale | August 9, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Bergman is inconsistent. As Redding implies, his problems are more mental than anything. He whacks out. That's why both St. Clair and Bowden get on him.

But when he's on, he's on. He has more chance of pitching a no-hitter than any current member of the Nats pitching staff.

Posted by: Natty Dread | August 9, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

A.Boone - Good guy, good baseball sense and pedigree. Time to find a place for him in the organization somewhere - start him out in low-A as an assistant coach. He's probably done as a player. Segue - did anyone notice the "teaser" on the print edition of the Post about last night's game? It was something like CC means no? (instead of si, si for those of you who don't speak spanish) Great play on words - has Chico Harlan's witty stamp on it.

Posted by: masnstinks | August 9, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

As others have noted, it would be great to see Bergmann maintain consistency and be part of the future rotation. Also agree re. the comments on Redding's potential as a coach.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 9, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Acta does not manage this team,he is just a puppet Jimbo pulls the strings(see Ryan Church, Bergmann) thats why Frank is gone because he would not tolerate a no nothing's interference Manny's perfect for Jimbo and Stan the Plan because he ain't gonna say jack,"yes boss" "no boss" "got the lineup card ready boss" the clock is ticking on all these pretenders hopefully!!.

Posted by: dargregmag@aol.com | August 9, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

(New) post time.

Posted by: NR Paulie | August 9, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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