Washington Nationals Grant Expos' Pick And Inaugural Nat Jason Bergmann Free Agency.

• Earlier this morning, before the Washington Nationals announced that 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper would be playing in the Arizona Fall League, the Nats' announced that they'd decided to allow Jason Bergmann to become a free agent. The Montreal Expos' 11th Round pick from 2002 pitched the majority of his innings this year with the Nats' Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, finishing his 6th season in the organization with a (6-4) record, 2.84 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 9.95 K/9, and 3.38 BB/9 over 43 games and 50.2 IP. Bergmann made his MLB debut in late August of the Nats' inaugural season in D.C. in 2005, replacing Mike Stanton on the mound in old RFK Stadium with the bases loaded in the 8th inning of a game the Nationals trailed 3-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals. Bergmann gave up a two-run single on a 2-0 pitch to Abraham Nunez that scored two of the three runners the then-23-year-old right hander had inherited, but Bergmann got a grounder back to the mound from the next batter to record his first major league out and then he came back on in the ninth and retired the three Cardinals he faced, collecting his first 3 K's, all of them swinging. 

The native of Neptune, New Jersey, drafted out of Rutgers University just two picks before Joel Zumaya went to the Detroit Tigers, in an Expos' Draft class that featured Clint Everts, Darrell Rasner, Larry Broadway and Mike O'Connor, would end up throwing 389.2 innings for the Nationals, making 50 starts and 155 appearances with the team that selected him 317th overall in '02:

Bergmann, Jason (WAS): (12-24), 5.04 ERA, 5.08 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 299 K's (6.91 K/9), 153 BB (3.53 BB/9)...

Bergmann turned 29 on September 25th. When I was thinking back over his career, all I could think about was the answer MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling gave when I asked in an interview last winter what it was that he had learned working as a reporter that he'd have never known as a fan and the Nats beat writer talked about players like, "Kory Casto, Jason Bergmann, Mike O'Connor and the like", who spend hours, "driving to Columbus or Syracuse one day, only to turn around for Washington the next day when somebody gets injured...":

"[and]...essentially live their lives out of a suitcase...But they make the late-night drives and the red-eye flights because they're trying to find some window to get the life of a guy like Ryan Zimmerman, where certainty and long-term financial security are realities."

Jason Bergmann's career might not be over, he may sign a free agent deal somewhere, and more than likely will end up in Spring Training with some major league team, but even if he doesn't, he spent nearly a decade pitching professionally, most of it at the highest levels of the game. And he can be proud to be a bullpen pitcher who survived the bullpen arm-ruining Frank Robinson days, pitched through the Acta era and also threw for the current Skipper Jim Riggleman. Jason Bergmann's been around since the beginning. Best of luck, Bergie.

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