Nats veteran relief pitcher Jason Bergmann was one of four players to resign with the team yesterday. Bergmann received a one-year deal worth a reported $750,000. I spoke with Jason about his new contract and the future of the Nats as spring training draws closer in Viera.
Jason and his family live in Viera where he has been training and getting ready for 2010. He told me he was driving by Space Coast Stadium as we spoke about his new deal.
Congratulations on your new deal with the Nats. So what do you think of all the moves the team has made during the offseason?
"You have to be happy with the way the offseason has gone. Everybody on the outside is shocked with how active we have been. Getting Pudge is fantastic.
You see guys like Doug Davis wanting to come here. That is really good to see. We acquire a guy like Jason Marquis.
Matt Capps got to choose between the Cubs and the Nats and he chose the Nats. That is fantastic. We made other smaller moves to add to our depth."
What do you think of the job Mike Rizzo has done this offseason as GM?
"It has been a very important first year for Mike Rizzo as a full-time general manager. He has made the right moves on paper. Everyone hopes they turn out to be great moves for us. The mere fact that guys want to come here is big for the Nats potential in the future."
How important is winning after the back-to-back 100-loss seasons?
"The biggest thing is to get out of the losing rut. I have been with the team dating back to 2002 and we have not known winning.
I would be ecstatic to be a part of a winning season. Going forward this will not be a bad team. Everyone's goal is to win. Now we just have to make it happen. We finished strong last year. You got guys that want to win.
Our offense was good and now pitching is better with the offseason acquisitions."
How about Josh Willingham returning for a reported $4.6 million?
"I am personally very happy for Josh after so many rumors about him possibly getting traded in the offseason. He is a quality player and he gets to begin the season as the starter in left field after he won the spot last season. Everyone knows Josh will be a great player and I am glad he is a part of our team."
So how did your deal get done? Describe where you feel you are at in your career.
"Back in December when they decided to offer arbitration I was happy because I knew they would give me a contract. I am more than happy and feel the team is going in the right direction and I am glad to be a part of it.
I have had my ups and downs. I know what I can do. They know what I can do. After shuffling from the minors to the majors last year, from starter to reliever, I know now what I am doing.
I am a middle reliever and I am okay with that. You want to make sure everyone in the bullpen is on board with the same goal and that is winning.
But I want to do it here in Washington. I have always envied the players that get to finish their career in same place. I have enjoyed my time here in D.C. I want to win here. I am very happy to be back and that we were able to settle on a number I am happy with."
How do you feel physically as you get ready for 2010?
"I feel fantastic physically. I have been in the gym since early November. I am not wondering if I am going to make the team.
I fully expect to be game ready for the first day of spring training. I live in Viera in the offseason so I have the added advantage of being at the facility everyday. That is a good thing in preparing for the season and part of reason I live down here now."
Congrats again to Jason and his family and we look forward to him making the short drive to the complex in Viera come February 19th.