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Nationals News: Bullpen purged & Zimmerman extends


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Bullpen Purge

"I think it's embarrassing. I think it's unacceptable. I think our fans have every right to be mad, like we are right now. And it's not going to be tolerated. We're going to have a brand new bullpen tomorrow, and if those guys that come in don't get it done, we're going to continue getting guys out of here. Because I think all of us deserve better... The fact is, you have to throw strikes. This is the big leagues, and they're big league pitchers, and you win with pitching. We had a chance to win three games in a row, we couldn't do it, and it's not going to be tolerated. So starting tomorrow we're going to have a brand new bullpen. Plenty of moves, and more to come."

The moves came a few minutes later.

Once Acta returned to his office, he and Acting GM Mike Rizzo called the players in one-by-one. First Steven Shell. Then Wil Ledezma. Then Saul Rivera.

Yup, overnight, three-sevenths of the bullpen is sent down. Counting the long-anticipated roster move -- C Josh Bard, gone; P Jordan Zimmermann, up -- this team is turning over almost a fifth of its roster.

Here are the moves:


* RHP Saul Rivera, optioned to Class AAA Syracuse

* LHP Wil Ledezma, designated for assignment

* RHP Steven Shell, designated for assignment

* C Josh Bard, optioned to Class AAA Syracuse


* RHP Garrett Mock

* RHP Jason Bergmann

* RHP Kip Wells

* RHP Jordan Zimmermann

I am impressed that a team would actually have the galls to do this so early in the season.

Zimmerman extends

Until at least 2013, Ryan Zimmerman will play for the Washington Nationals -- the team that drafted him, and the team that has now affirmed his role in its future. Zimmerman and the Nationals have agreed to a five-year, $45 million contract, two industry sources said tonight. A news conference is expected tomorrow afternoon.
The five-year deal begins immediately, overriding the $3.325-million deal Zimmerman was due to earn. Without a new contract, Zimmerman would have been eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.

So in essence, the 5/$45 is 4/$41.675.

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The Zimmerman deal seems like a good one. As to the bullpen moves, they may make sense, but the Nats are a team in full panic mode, benching Dukes, sending Milledge to the minors, and now switching out three members of their bullpen, all in the first two weeks of the season.

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