Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nationals Add Logan Kensing

The Nationals traded 2007 48th round draft pick Kyle Gunderson (who let's be honest I'd never heard of before today, had you?) to the Marlins for hard-throwing fastball-slider reliever Logan Kensing yesterday. It has the feel of another cheapskate move by the Marlins, dumping an arbitration-eligible player for whatever they could get. Yeah, I know he was only making a couple hundred thousand over the major league minimum, but these are the Marlins we're talking about.

Kensing can touch the mid-90s and miss bats, striking out 21.4% of batters faced for his career.
He's walked 12.4% though, and that's been his undoing.

Last year was his best year, going 55.1 IP with a 4.23 ERA, though it's important to note an important stat I've invented called ERANA, or ERA Nationals-Adjusted, which tells you how a pitcher did against teams other than our Nationals. It's an important measure to consider when trying to isolate a pitcher's true skill level. In 2008, Kensing's ERANA was 4.50 in 50 innings, still pretty good but not as impressive.

Still, it was somewhat surprising to see the Fish DFA a live-armed young-ish 26-year-old, and Rizzo jumped. Hardly a game-changer, but it seems fine.

One thing I'm wondering though after watching Joel Hanrahan melt into a puddle of jelly the other night in Philly is whether Rizzo's Donald Trump routine ("you're fired!") is backfiring. Everyone talks about how you can't pitch scared, but it's a lot harder not not pitch scared when you know that if you get the fat part of the plate once you could end up in Syracuse or worse. I know it's satisfying to fans to hear tough talk about accountability, and maybe it's true the Manny's been too permissive, and that's related to our annual slow starts. But I'm not sure. This might not be the best way to pull a team or a pitching staff out of a tailspin


JayB said...

Yes I had heard of Gunderson (his draft order and college career have a place in my heart). He is a classic overachiever.

Love the new stat, not sure it means anything in 2009 for pitchers but you may need on for hitters this year.

Come on....if Rizzo is scaring our closer then that just shows he never had the make up to do the job anyway. That role needs a personality like Milledge without the poor work ethic.

Guy McGuffin said...

Tyler Clippard is looking great in Syracuse since being converted to a reliever. I hope he gets a look at some point.

flippin said...

I agree with JayB. Hanrahan's blowups were monumentally bad, Rizzo had no choice. Too much, too soon for young Joel. And, last I checked, he is still on the AAAA roster.

Steven said...

I'm not saying it was wrong to demote Hanrahan, I'm just not sure the approach of scaring everyone in the clubhouse that if you pitch bad one day or make one error or show up 2 minutes late or just happen to smell funny that Rizzo's going to axe your ass in a heartbeat... I'm not sure fear is the best motivator for a bunch of guys who let's face it just aren't that talented.

Anonymous said...

So I guess you no longer care what they're doing to Jason Bergmann's fragile psyche, then? One day up, one day down, and you don't mention it, even in passing. Who is this year's poster boy in the "They Done Me Wrong" Club (Pitching Division)? (We know Dukes has the position player spot locked up for life.)

JayB said...


If they are not talented then why do we care if they are also too fragil and Rizzo scares them. I do not want a team of no talent players anyway. My feeling is indeed that Manny Babies them and expects the least of them. Jimbo loved their tools without caring about production....Rizzo I like...he cares about winning.

Elan said...

I'm willing to see if Rizzo is any good - in the meantime, maybe his constant "you're on the hot seat" demeanor with the players will be a good balance with manny's "aww, nice try though" attitude.

James Bjork said...

At least Tavarez and Wells are more or less getting people out with some consistency- and you can't argue with their price. I hope they keep it up.

I for one wish all those indignant ninnies who bitched about Tavarez' J-Lo comment would shut the hell up. For God's sake, a ballplayer actually being HONEST instead of spouting cliches! Who the hell would WANT to play for the Nats at minimum wage (on the heels of a 102-loss season) if there were any other opportunities elsewhere?! At least Tavarez made his point with panache.

Steven said...

Tavarez is a big mouth. What he said about J-Lo was tame by his standards.

As for Bergy, I've said what I have to say. I actually wish they'd just trade him now. He's like Kensing was for the Marlins--the team's just given up on him, and everyone would be better off just moving on. There are easily 8-10 teams for whom Bergmann would be an upgrade on their current #5 starter.