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Nats Trade For RHP Kensing

The Washington Nationals, attempting to strengthen their bullpen, today sent a minor league prospect to Florida in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Logan Kensing. To acquire the 26-year-old, Washington traded right-handed pitcher Kyle Gunderson, a 2007 48th-round draft pick who was playing with Class A Potomac.

To make room for Kensing, the Nationals made two subsequent roster moves. They transferred Roger Bernadina from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, allowing Kensing a spot on the 40-man roster. Then, they sent reliever Jason Bergmann to Class AAA Syracuse, opening a spot on the 25-man roster.

Kensing is expected to be in uniform for tonight's game in Philadelphia.

Kensing has pitched in parts of six big league seasons, including this year, where he has a 9.82 ERA in six games and 7-1/3 innings. Last year, in 55-1/3 innings, he had a 4.32 ERA. A 2003 second-round pick out of Texas A&M, Kensing is known as a hard thrower, and has 131 strikeouts in 133 career innings (lifetime 5.21 ERA).

Berman will have details and reactions on the trade shortly...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 29, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

On your day off, too.

The nerve!

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 29, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, ok the trade is fine but I'm not happy about sending Bergmann down. I really think we will have a problem when it comes to having a relief pitcher that can pitch 3 plus innings or that can take over a start from a starting pitcher that might be ill.

Posted by: irishnat | April 29, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So they're essentially replacing Bergmann with Kensing. Not sure that's much of an upgrade, but at least this indicates that the front office recognizes and is attempting to address the team's greatest deficiency.

Posted by: jcj5y | April 29, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm at least glad to see a fast turnaround on a trade when it's needed. I mean, I have no clue how long this trade was in the works, but it just seems like with Rizzo, this stuff happens quickly.

On the other hand....yawn.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Good move. I like it. I feel bad for Bergmann though. He only had 2 appearances since he came up right?

Posted by: FloresFan | April 29, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Kensing was DFA'd after Sunday's game. He had given up runs in four of his last six appearances. Negotiations likely did not start until then at the earliest.

Bergmann has options. The FO isn't willing to part with its bullpen members who would have to pass through waivers.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 29, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Bergmann is becoming Ryan Church v2.0, getting jerked around for whatever reason. (Maybe it's just to annoy FireJimBowden.) Why not send Rivera back down now rather than Bergmann? Admittedly Bergmann has not looked all that good during the week or so he's been up, but Rivera has looked worse. Does Rivera go back down when Beimel comes back from the DL?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 29, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Since the Marlins always seem to get the best of teams they trade with, I fully expect Kensing to be a bust and Gunderson to be a star in their rotation in a year. Marlins are the best at evaluating talent. They never get taken.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Cool, this will fix all the bullpen troubles.

Posted by: Tom8 | April 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Marlins are the best at evaluating talent. They never get taken."

Checked Bonifacio's stats lately? He's back to his old tricks, the ones that didn't look so good when he was here last year.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 29, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Great...another guy who can't throw strikes.

Free Bergy!!

--DC Sports Plus

Posted by: iishoagie07 | April 29, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't know. Former all-universe, superstar, immortal-in-the-making Bonifacio is scalding the ball to the tune of a robust .250/.302/.333. I'm not sure the Marlins got the upper hand in that one in pure talent terms (obviously they dumped salary, which was the most important thing to them).

Posted by: Section220 | April 29, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'll be curiosu if the Nats are talking to the ChiSox about Mike MacDougal, who was DFA's on 4/21. 10 days runs out this Friday. I assume they'll try to work a deal, b/c he makes enough not to be claimed and is likely to refuse assignment (Ozzie hates him). He's due $3m, counting his option buy out.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 29, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Cool, this will fix all the bullpen troubles.

Posted by: Tom8 | April 29, 2009 3:37 PM

***********

If ya'll don't mind my taking the reins on the snark ratings today, I give this a 10.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Marlins are the best at evaluating talent. They never get taken."

Have you checked the stats of Willingham, who isn't even playing, and Olsen, who is. BTW check the stats of Dontrelle Willis, and who the Marlins got for him, just to name 1.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Cool, this will fix all the bullpen troubles.

Posted by: Tom8 | April 29, 2009 3:37 PM

***********

If ya'll don't mind my taking the reins on the snark ratings today, I give this a 10.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 3:48 PM
-----------------------

I know - I love it

Posted by: PattyinSJ | April 29, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

WTF? Is it possible the Nats forgot they have Saul Rivera chewing up a space on their roster? Granted, Bergmann hasn't been great -- but, at this point, aren't Acta and St. Clair more likely to put Bergmann in a game than Rivera? The Nats' initial plan -- send Rivera back down to help him regain form and confidence -- made sense. Their subsequent approach -- bring him back and have him sit in the bullpen, because no way we're putting him in a meaningful game -- makes none.

Finally, Florida's willingness to ship this guy off to a divisional rival in exchange for no one in particular leaves me very skeptical that Kensing will be the answer.

Posted by: mvm2 | April 29, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

What, nobody has made the obligatory "rearranging the deck chairs" comment yet? I've been away on a Caps hiatus but you guys are really off your respective games.

Kensing is a decent signing, although Bergie's sudden demotion is regrettable. A former second-round pick (in 2003), he's had some injury issues but finally posted a respectable 4.23 ERA in 55 IP last year, with a k/bb ratio of 55/33. He's a serviceable middle reliever, and evidently, we need more of those.

Let's win tonight and turn things around on the next homestand.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I love how the Nats website still has the two feature articles - "Acta, players brim with confidence." & "Pitching depth emerging for Nats." Stellar reporting as usual from Ladson.

They did finally whiteout Millegde's picture (a la Soviet style) and replace him with Dunn.

Posted by: CountDemoney | April 29, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Some levity here.

We gave up a 48-round pick to get a guy with MLB experience. He's not a saviour; he's providing some bullpen depth on a team that desperately needs it. By my analysis we're down to exactly TWO relievers on the 40-man who are not either with the big club or on the injured list (Bergmann and Clippard). And personally I think Clippard should be in the Syracuse rotation, not O'Connor.

I like this move and I think we should continue to try moves like this.

Posted by: tboss | April 29, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Management has absolutely no faith in Jberg. I'm a bit surprised that he went instead of Rivera but they just don't think Jberg can throw strikes consistently enough.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Colome can get called up. If he does, they'll have to find some space on the 40 man and there's not a lot of room there.

Posted by: hoo93 | April 29, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

For the coup de grace for this whole thing, go to Kensing's Baseball Ref page. Check comparative players under 25. See anyone funny?

Yeah. Bergmann. We traded for an other Bergmann, and moved the real Bergmann to AAA.

IF I AM YOU, AND YOU ARE ME, THEN WHO AM I?!?!

Posted by: jonfhoffman | April 29, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

IF I AM YOU, AND YOU ARE ME, THEN WHO AM I?!?!Posted by: jonfhoffman

I am you as you are me and we are all together.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

BTW Last I looked the Fish were in first. And teams don't get to first without being smart. They may be cheap but they're about as smart as they come.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I know all the Ladson fans here won't want to miss Bill's take on Bergmann (from his April 9 mailbox column; complete with a shot at a "certain beat writer"):

I don't understand why right-hander Jason Bergmann wasn't given a shot to make the starting rotation this year?
-- Darren M., Fairfax, Va.

Contrary to what he thinks, Bergmann did not have a good year in 2008, and he should be considered a reliever. Just look at the numbers. I've often felt Bergmann has been in denial about the season he had. It doesn't help when a certain beat reporter tells him he should have won nine games if he had the offense and defense behind him. The record is right where it should be: 2-11 with a 5.09 ERA.

Posted by: joebleux | April 29, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I like that they are shoring up the 'pen but also wonder why Bergmann and not Rivera?

(And I would have thought the Walrus.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

coo coo kachoo

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 29, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

From the "Jason Bergmann Fan Club":

You know, this might not be the worst thing for him - I am not sure I would want to be in the Nats bullpen as it burns to the ground.

I like Jason... I like his stuff, when he's good, he's really good, when he's not good, it is because he's tentative. He needs to be in a setting where he can build some confidence, and Washington isn't the place for that right now.

I think he earned a spot on the big league roster... but he has to think it too... all the time, every outing, even with men on base. Until he's sure, he probably needs to be in Syracuse.

Posted by: wigi | April 29, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 29, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good points, Wigi.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 29, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm crying.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 29, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

As soon as I get off this cornflake I'll have a point to make.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

If I am you, and you are me, and I am the Walrus, and the Walrus was Paul, then you are Paulie Walrus.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 29, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ummmmm, 9.82 ERA? Really, what is the point in this trade, except to humiliate Bergmann?
This feels more like the hampster spinning the same wheel, running to nowhere. I am beginning to get tired of management's philosophy of letting our major league team be the playpen of those not ready for anyone else's major league team (see Cabrera). Or is this just an appetizer to hold us over until the trade of an outfielder? And to think that I started this April as an optimist.

Posted by: driley | April 29, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Marlins are the best at evaluating talent. They never get taken."

Have you checked the stats of Willingham, who isn't even playing, and Olsen, who is. BTW check the stats of Dontrelle Willis, and who the Marlins got for him, just to name 1.

Posted by: dovelevine

Uhh, wasn't it really the Miguel Cabrera trade you are talking about? Willis was kind of a throw in. The Tigers resigned Willis in ridiculous fashion. So that's the Tigers stupidity, not the Marlins genius.

Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller were the players of note in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

Olsen has pitched better lately, but will never be great. Willingham is a serviceable outfielder. Bonifacio is a horrible third baseman. I wouldnt say one team or another was taken.

Posted by: BillyBeane | April 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn't help when a certain beat reporter tells him he should have won nine games if he had the offense and defense behind him."

Oh no, he didn't.

I hope Ladson wasn't taking a wrtten sling at our boy Chico.

If he thought we trashed his work before, he's got another thing comiing.

We'll crush his soul so regularly he'll pray to be beat writing in Hagerstown or Kansas City before after we get through with him.

Posted by: WebberDC | April 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Alas, after looking at Kyle Gunderson's stats I can see why the Marlins are interested. The Marlins seem to have the confidence to look two years into the future and take the pick of our cupboard. It will be interesting (and maybe damning) to see how the three prospects traded away this year to the Marlins pan out.

Posted by: driley | April 29, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I see where this going: Semolina Pilcher on the bullpen?

Posted by: outsider6 | April 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I am immediately convinced that Big Bad Logan Kensing is going to become the next Trevor Hoffman...or Dennis Eckersley...or Rob Dibble.

We're going straight to the top. Buy your post-season tickets now, while they're still available. This is the final piece of the puzzle!

Go Nats!

Posted by: usmc53 | April 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Is Se Molina a catcher?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller were the players of note in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

Miller I don't know much about, but I've seen Maybin play. And even though he's struggling right now, that guy is a future All Star. No question. And he's only 22. Advantage Fish.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Based upon his stats, it looks to me like Kensing is just more of what we already have, and that's not much.

Posted by: bupbups | April 29, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Why would we trade for this guy? Don't get me wrong. A 48th rounder to get a 2nd rounder sounds good on paper, but this guy hasn't shown anything, especially so far this year. Did we really need to send down Bergmann, who was off to a good start back here in the majors, for yet another relief pitcher who can't keep runs off the board?

Posted by: vash462 | April 29, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Kensing began his career as a promising future closer designation. Then he had Tommy John surgery. According to multiple news scouting outlets he has had bad command since (i.e. a 1.50 WHIP in 2008 from mostly walks; if you look at his hits he is consistently about 1 per inning pre and post surgery.) This year the wheels have clearly fallen off with his hits given up almost 2>1 per innings pitched. So, my guess is that Rizzo thought St. Claire could "fix" him for a relatively cheap prospect. Somehow make a guy with little confidence throw strikes and not walk guys. Same old Natinals type trade if you ask me.

Posted by: you-dont | April 29, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Bonafacio batted .583 the first 5 games of the season and only .150 since.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | April 29, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

JCA: Good call.... I can't keep up with all those Molinas! :)

Posted by: outsider6 | April 29, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

>>Bonafacio batted .583 the first 5 games of the season and only .150 since.

And 3 of those were against us. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

jobleux and gilbertbp,thanks much to your response on my inquiry last night about stats on Lannan's lack of run support - amazing how there actually are stats on everything. I was also interested to find Shairon near the top of the list, i.e., getting lots of support.

Posted by: Traveler8 | April 29, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

joebleux and gilbertbp, my bad.

Posted by: Traveler8 | April 29, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we will hear soon that Bergmann was sent down to get more experience as a reliever - perhaps even as a closer. Maybe not.

Regardless, change for change sake is sometimes good. Sitting around doing nothing is definately not working.

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 29, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I like Bergmann too. His stats pretty much state that he's good (WHIP's of 1.22, 1.43, 1.40) but with him I think going beyond the stats is more prudent. He does have a lot of BB's - 30% of his baserunners got a free pass. And last year he got hit hard - BAA of .279. But I think the problem with him is that he doesn't have that mental fortitude and seems to lose confidence thereby geting crushed in a big inning. Like I remember him just walking 2 guys in a row a whole lot after cruising for a few innings. It was really perplexing. I kind of see the Nationals viewpoint here in that he needs to forget about the situation and just throw strikes. I am just unsure that the way they are handling him is the best way to accomplish that aim.

Posted by: you-dont | April 29, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

traveler8, thanks for the thanks, especially since my answer didn't really give you what you were looking for (gilbertbp's research did).

The RS stat over at espn.com isn't what I thought (run support per 9 innings). Rather, it's "run support per 9 innings while pitcher of record", which seems like an oddly narrow way to calculate the stat).

Posted by: joebleux | April 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ok.

There are two pitchers on this Nationals team that are responsible for at least 90% of all the "suckiness" and failure of this "horrific bullpen that no manager in the history of baseball could win with." (so don't blame Manny!)

Joel Hanrahan and Saul Rivera.

So someone please explain to me why they are still in Nationals uniforms, and the Nationals are releasing serviceable pitchers like Steven Shell for nothing because Rizzo "doesn't like his aura", and demoting folks like Bergmann, who is a pretty terrible starter, but a more than serviceable reliever.

What is so GD special about Rivera and Hanrahan that they simply can't be cut/demoted? Why do we insist on keeping them at the expense of making the bullpen better?

Yes, I know all about options. I don't care about Rivera or Hanrahan's options. and neither should the Nationals.

we keep Shell, Keep Bergmann, and demoted/release both Rivera and Hanrahan, trade for Kensing, and we have this:

Hinckley
Mock
Tavarez
Wells
Kensing
Bergmann
Shell

replace Wells with Beimel when he comes back.

that's not an outstanding bullpen, but it is more than serviceable enough for even Manny to win with.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that although making people compete for jobs is a good thing, too much competition might rattle them and make them worse. I can only imagine them out there on the mound thinking "I have to throw a strike or I'm going to get fired." Not the ideal working conditions...

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Loverro is on with the 980AM "Sports Reporters" in a couple minutes to talk about Bowden.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 29, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Manny would lose with a good team. He has been a terrible manager, has made terrible decisions and has not improved this team 1 game by his managing. He's the Ed Tapscott of baseball. Enough is enough.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 29, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

it's bad enough that the marlins OWN the nats, but they feel sorry enough for us that they're willing to send us one of their few pitchers who isn't performing well so far this season. the sentiment is touching.

Posted by: surly_w | April 29, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Both Rivera and Hanrahan didn't suck this bad before 2009. They weren't great but they were good enough. Rivera we've seen a lot more of and he had some stretches where he pitched quite well. I'm yet to be convinced that Hanrahan can become a reliable reliever.

I think the problem is there's just no leadership / experience in the bullpen. It's different for starters. They've got to pitch a lot of innings and they're used to dealing with individual responsibility. You go at there and it's all you until you've done your bit or you get knocked out of the game. For the bullpen it's like a squad. None of them knows who's going to get the call on which night at which point in the game. It's great to have a quality lieutenant (Randy) but if you don't have a good seargent or two in there it's just not going to work.

We need a guy similar to Stanton whose very seasoned and demonstrated success. Playing the youngsters is great but you need some guys with hash marks too.

Don't think this Kensing deal is going to do much to improve things. Sending JBerg down was not a smart move. He was doing ok so far and right now just having average pitching would be something. We've done the injured pitcher story to death (Patterson, Hill, O'Conner, JBerg, etc... et...).

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 29, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

This continues to be amatuer or cheap ownership hour (I can't tell which). Cannot believe the Stan that I knew would allow this to continue. Our scouting gurus and pitching coaches have had such great insight. Will someone please shoot the dead horse! 9+ERA and a 4+ lifetime ERA.Let's hold a try out at Dunbar. They have better arms!

Posted by: navboss | April 29, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Sending Bergy down was a slap in the face..he outperformed Rivera, period. How does one maintain a level of confidence when management pulls the rug out from under you. Bergy came up a week ago Sunday...he last pitched the night before being called up. He then sat on the bench until coming into the game Saturday night (should of been in Weds night game when Hinckley was roughed up)..we watched him warmed up for three innings before getting into the game Sat and got roughed up. Watching that game he had a very live ball that night and was throwing 93-94..we wondered if his control problems were from sitting all week..? Sunday he was very solid..the mets couldn't get a solid hit and he threw 2 2/3 innings-probably was in 2/3 of an inning too long. Riveria comes in and gives up 2 runs. Last night Bergman has a very solid inning..rivera comes in a gives up a HR..Today Bergmann is sent down.Its frustrating to me as a fan..I can't imagine what it is like for this pitcher.

Posted by: natsanuff | April 29, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh man. Retroactive Post of the Day.

-----

Is Se Molina a catcher?

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 30, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

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