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Kensing Designated for Assignment

UPDATE, 4:50 p.m. -- The Nats just made it official. Mike Morse has been selected from Syracuse (and added to the 40-man roster). Morse, acquired in June from Seattle in the deal involving Ryan Langerhans, had been hitting .339 (56-for-165) with the Chiefs.

---

All things are quiet so far on Strasburg. (And sorry for the delay between posts. I was traveling back from Cincinnati.) Anyway, in non-SS news, the Nationals have designated relief pitcher Logan Kensing for assignment, according to acting general manager Mike Rizzo. There has been no word yet on who will replace Kensing on the 25-man roster, but Washington will almost certainly use the spot for a position player, perhaps Class AAA Syracuse infielder Mike Morse.

For Kensing, this was the second time this year he has been DFA'd by the Nationals. The first time, in May, he cleared waivers, reported to Syracuse, and earned his way back to the big leagues. But since getting called up on July 20, Kensing has been hit hard almost without exception, posting an 8.16 ERA in 11 games (14-1/3 innings). After Kensing's latest outing, interim manager Jim Riggleman actually wondered aloud if the right-hander was tipping his pitches because he was getting hit so hard.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 17, 2009; 4:42 PM ET
 
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Next: The Pressure of the Countdown

Comments

Thank you Chico! Something else to think about today. There are other guys busting their butts to play for our team ... after all is said and done!

Posted by: periculum | August 17, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

One Boras client signed:

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, Padres top pick Donovan Tate has been sighted in San Diego and is expected to sign soon.

Tate, selected third overall, will be handed a signing bonus worth around $6 million. He was offered a scholarship to play football and baseball at the University of North Carolina next year, but will obviously turn that down.

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 17, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

i mean, expected to be...

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

(from previous)

How about this sign:

Sept 1, 2009 headlines:
WAS@SD
WP - J Lannan
LP - M Latos
SV - D Storen

Ft Worth Cats @ El Paso Diablos
WP - S Strasburg
LP - T Lerner
SV - S Boras

Yeah yeah, it's a little wordy, but I like it. Personally, I think getting the top picks a taste of the show early (e.g. Detwiler last year) is GREAT incentive for future top picks to sign. It's one of the best incentives cheap teams who won't pay above slot can have, but also good for a young organization.

I'll be at the park tomorrow night, so curious which ones we WILL see.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: Ft Worth Cats, I guess I could've had A Crow as LP, but he's not held to the deadline.

From what I understand, THAT is a dummy move, for him and Hendricks bros. Last year, we were talking about maybe 500k, and for him to negotiate with hometown KC this year is what they get to show for it -- and 500k LESS than last year's offer.

How many wins for Ft. Worth will Crow have next year before the draft? That'll cost him 2 years of MLB time before becoming a free agent. Must not teach much math at U of Missouri, at least to baseball players.

(oh, and nice summary, Cheeseburger)

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Via MLBTradeRumors.com: "Jim Callis of Baseball America hears that first rounder Donavan Tate is in San Diego to take a physical. However, this doesn't mean the Padres will sign Tate, who they selected third overall in June. "

dclifer97- is there an update from this info (posted at 4:27 PM)? Many teams have their players do a physical even if a deal is not in place yet so that they can negotiate to the last minute.

Along these lines, has anybody heard if SS has taken a formal physical so we can sign him to a major-league deal?

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | August 17, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"@506....very good then....use all the data you like....just make sure you look at the defense...something that Acta refused to work on.....just a quick back of the envelope check of wins and loses tells me that Acta was a huge part of the problem. Care to comment on just what your eyes tell you?"

I am sad for not getting this done, but some stuff from earlier this summer finally came due and I had to work on that. You know I would prefer statistical analysis.

I'm sort of surprised that you ask to highlight defense (though I am happy to oblige, it was in my original plan) since I think your strongest case that Acta was part of the problem lies in offensive production. The starting pitching has certainly backslid since Acta left, the bullpen has gone in a hot-streak, but straight up numbers-wise, the biggest observed difference is hitting with RISP.

Posted by: Section506 | August 17, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they can DFA Gonzo while they're at it, or should I say Gone-zo. That suicide squeeze attempt (or lack thereof) was pathetic.

As far as SS goes, it is a classic NJ win-win-win scenario:

A. He signs and is great, we will be happy.
B. He signs and sucks we can b**ch about how he is a greedy over-paid stiff (and it will be Belliard’s fault).
C. He doesn't sign, we can b**ch about how the Learners are cheap (and it is all Belliard’s fault) and can continue to be unhappy because the Learners are cheap.

So either we’re happy or we’re unhappy and blaming Belliard. After all we on the NJ love to be unhappy, otherwise we’d root for a team that wasn’t cheap or inept or in Washington, because we have the NJ on which to vent our unhappiness. What's not to love (other than Belliard that is)?

Posted by: twinbrook | August 17, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Along these lines, has anybody heard if SS has taken a formal physical so we can sign him to a major-league deal?

Posted by: cheeseburger53

****************

word is he had his physical yesterday.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 17, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Kory Casto: in 381 AB, 20 doubles, 1 triple 7 home runs, 52 runs, 52 RBI before yesterday's game and is hitting .281. .394 SLG, .735 OPS

Yesterday he went 3 for 5 with a walk.

MJ Morse: 425 AB's 26 doubles, 3 triples, 16 home runs, sporting a .322 average, 35 walks, 77 strikeouts (15/27 with Syracuse), .511 SLG. 59 runs and 86 RBI. OPS .894 OPS.

Justin Maxwell: His problem is pretty clear ... otherwise he would might be the perfect #2 hitter with 31 SB's this year. He had 124 strike outs versus 51 walks in 339 at bats. Add in the MLB totals and its 55 walks against 135 strike outs in 363 at bats.

.245 avg with 5 triples. Has 9 doubles and 13 home runs; .416 SLG, .767 OPS. Can play center field along with any other outfield position.

If you trade Belliard, Guzman, and Harris, you might bring up Maxwell, Morse, and Casto to replace them.

Posted by: periculum | August 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

My GP's golf caddy said he heard that Strasburg passed his physical with flying colors (yes, I am making this up).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 17, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I vote A!

However, if SS doesn't sign, I don't think I'm the only one hoping he blows his arm out in the next year.

As I said Sunday, I think he'll sign around 10:30 pm or so, allowing Boras to then scramble to sign his other holdouts by midnight.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"The starting pitching has certainly backslid since Acta left, the bullpen has gone in a hot-streak, but straight up numbers-wise, the biggest observed difference is hitting with RISP."

The starting rotation lost Olsen and Zimmermann. But replaced Cabrera, Martis, and Detwiler with what appear to be better and more consistent pitchers?

I'm not sure where you get that notion?

Posted by: periculum | August 17, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"As I said Sunday, I think he'll sign around 10:30 pm or so, allowing Boras to then scramble to sign his other holdouts by midnight.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009"

I thought 9PM was the deadline? Making it around 6PM Strasburg time?

Posted by: periculum | August 17, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

If SS does sign do you think he'll made an appearance for the fans at tomorrow's game?

Posted by: trezmartin | August 17, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Casto has a total of 2 games at 2B in the minors. None in the majors.

Never a game at SS.

Not sure which player he would replace - everyone you mention there can play middle infield.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 17, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Kensing got dropped from the 40 man too. Will be interesting to see what arms are here after Labor day. I'd guess Estrada and Matt Chico again. Maybe Wilkie, Zinicola or another Chief reliever?

Never understood what Rizzo saw in Kensing.

Posted by: hoo93 | August 17, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I know all eyes are on the Strasburg signing, but I'm pleased with DFA'ing Kensing and recalling Morse. We saw him in Syracuse this past weekend, and he looks great.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | August 17, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Defense is the key....they stopped killing the moral of the team with accepting little league errors mostly mental errors.

Acta lack of response signaled to them that he just did not care. Once a leader was put in place that would not accept the status quo and was willing to call out a player of Dunn's stature then they all started to take some pride in themselves again.....that has lead to everything else improving and MOST IMPORTANTLY....WINS!

A look at the data will show improvements in many aspects of the game. What caused the change is simple to me.....leadership that stopped making excuses that were not valid and stopped accepting mental errors. The leadership that forced them to work on defense gave them pride that led to winning.

Posted by: JayBeee | August 17, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Dude, Jaybee you need to drop your hate for Acta. He is LONG GONE!!! Get over it.

Posted by: FloresFan | August 17, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Dude, you all closed your eyes to the problem and I had to pay for a 1/2 season tickets worth of the worst baseball I have ever seen (30 years of on and off the field)!

I am pissed that Nats wasted this year and my hard earned money.

Posted by: JayBeee | August 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I thought 9PM was the deadline? Making it around 6PM Strasburg time?

Posted by: periculum
- - - - - - -

No- Midnight eastern is the deadline, 9PM Strasburg time.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | August 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they can DFA Gonzo while they're at it, or should I say Gone-zo. That suicide squeeze attempt (or lack thereof) was pathetic.

As far as SS goes, it is a classic NJ win-win-win scenario:

A. He signs and is great, we will be happy.
B. He signs and sucks we can b**ch about how he is a greedy over-paid stiff (and it will be Belliard’s fault).
C. He doesn't sign, we can b**ch about how the Learners are cheap (and it is all Belliard’s fault) and can continue to be unhappy because the Learners are cheap.

So either we’re happy or we’re unhappy and blaming Belliard. After all we on the NJ love to be unhappy, otherwise we’d root for a team that wasn’t cheap or inept or in Washington, because we have the NJ on which to vent our unhappiness. What's not to love (other than Belliard that is)?

- Twinbrook -

Amen brother, amen!

PS. This just in, Ronnie Belliard as we speak is doing something to hurt this team in some way shape or form, I can pretty much guarantee that.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | August 17, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The suspense is really killing me. I really, really, really hope he signs. I will not sleep until I hear he has signed. I really love Drew Storen, from day 1 he was so excited to be part of the Nationals (and obviously it's not the same situation as Strasburg) but if Strasburg really wants to achieve his dream which is play in the big leagues, he would sign the deal. That's what's best for him. I have my fingers crossed.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 17, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Agree with JayBee, even if it is looking in the rearview mirror. All the "experts" said this was an historically bad team--changing managers wouldn't change a thing (even though the same experts had agreed in March that the club should win about 65-70 games). It's now clear that if we fall short of that range it's because Kasten waited too long to replace Acta, June in particular being a lost month.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | August 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you JayBeee! Actless was a poor excuse for a manager. I am disappointed that the Nationals front office waited so long that even the most casual fan could see that Acta was the problem. They are the baseball professionals they should have seen that he was the problem, and fixed it, much sooner. There must be a hidden reason for the delay, maybe it will be revealed in the future.

Posted by: anyone1 | August 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Chico on espnews?!?!?? Our boy is all growns up!!

Posted by: curz | August 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

> No- Midnight eastern is the deadline, 9PM Strasburg time.

Good. The bars will still be open for a good while, so he can get his drink on after he signs. Do you think he'll let Boras pick up the check? No matter what Strasburg signs for, Boras will still be making more money than he is.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 17, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Dontcha mean "Good, the bars will still be open for a while, so WE can get a drink on after hearing whether or not he signs!"?

---------
> No- Midnight eastern is the deadline, 9PM Strasburg time.

Good. The bars will still be open for a good while, so he can get his drink on after he signs. Do you think he'll let Boras pick up the check? No matter what Strasburg signs for, Boras will still be making more money than he is.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Just reading through the posts, last year's $4 million was scary money for a guy Baseball America called the best RHP in the draft and maybe the best pitcher in the draft. Now you've got maybe $20 million for SS, a number that boggles the mind around here.

Keep in mind that we are not used to such numbers, but other clubs in MLB are. Look at the Giants who gave $126 million to Barry Zito. The older guys can be even bigger risks than someone who has never thrown one pitch to a big leaguer. Look at KC, which gave $55 million to Gil Meche. (The Royals also gave $36 million to our old pal Jose Guillen). It's all a risk. Everything is!

We live in a town where loyal Nats' fans brag about how the Lerners extended themselves to get Josh Willingham and his $2.95 million contract, offering this contract as proof that the Lerners are not cheap. In our world, the $20 million given to Dunn, as the only expensive FA ever signed under the Lerners, is huge money.

So the point is that we should not be freaked out by the big money. What if you could get both Crow and Strasburg for $24 million? I would jump at it, especially given all the money the nats are not spending elsewhere. Then you could start dreaming about 1 and 2 SP to go with the other young SPs. As it now stands, just getting one of them will be a start.

Posted by: EdDC | August 17, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

A major consideration that has not been addressed, is that the Washington Post financial sections have been reporting for some time that the next crisis for the US is the expected collapse in the commercial property sector. This is the main business of the Lerners. The collapse or even huge drop in prices would have a huge impact on their fortunes and their ability to have a huge baseball payroll.
According to a lot of people they are cheap but with this type of prediction of real estate drop they have to be careful what type of financial commitments they make. They may love owning a baseball team but they have to protect themselves financially.

Posted by: dougb3 | August 17, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee and 506,

Maybe the key to the Nats resurgence is that they have finally put players into positions that actually make sense. Trading Johnson gets Dunn permanently out of the outfield, where for no explicable reason he was forced to play. Willingham can play left well enough most nights. Getting even the shadow of Kearns out of the lineup has made a palpable difference. Dukes is fine in right and we all like Morgan in center. So finally after half a season we have a settled outfield. This alone has made the defense better.

Secondly, getting rid of players who contributed nothing to the team has become the main strategy. Riggleman is burdened with less knuckleheads than Acta. I think that Riggleman is a better manager but I think Rizzo's lack of patience with the lineup has been the determining factor that has this team playing better.

If there was ever a situation that a team was made better in the "addition by subtraction" mode this has been it.

Posted by: driley | August 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Mo, if you go to Duffy's for that drink, avoid the two drunks at the end of the bar.
*********************
Dontcha mean "Good, the bars will still be open for a while, so WE can get a drink on after hearing whether or not he signs!"?

---------
> No- Midnight eastern is the deadline, 9PM Strasburg time.

Good. The bars will still be open for a good while, so he can get his drink on after he signs. Do you think he'll let Boras pick up the check? No matter what Strasburg signs for, Boras will still be making more money than he is.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 17, 2009 5:29 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 17, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

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