Will the Nationals spend some money to acquire Major League players this offseason? I appreciate them building the farm system, but I can't wait forever. What do you think of trying to sign a big-dollar player?
-- Ryan K., Washington D.C.
I'm cautiously optimistic the Nats will spend some money this offseason, but not for a big-name guy. We're talking wasting dollars on more guys like Lo Pukea, Fatsrada, Mackowisuck, etc. rather than going after someone who might return the investment like C.C. Sabathia or Ben Sheets.
I was at two Nationals games recently, and Alberto Gonzalez plays outstanding defense and covers a lot of territory. With that in mind, who will be the Opening Day shortstop next year?
-- Brian G., Richmond, Va.
Um...seriously? Gonzalez can play some good defense, but his bat is probably closer to Jesus Colome's than Jesus Flores'.
Unless this is a trick question. Guzman's chance of starting on Opening Day is usually about 50/50, depending on his health.
I recently heard on the radio that Ryan Zimmerman doesn't have a good relationship with the Nationals organization. Please tell me this is only a rumor.
-- Xavier N., Houston
Does this surprise anyone? Ladson says it's just a rumor, but I'm skeptical. Only time will tell, but after the way our bridges were burned with the Chief, I wouldn't be surprised.
Are there any updates on Shawn Hill? Can we expect him to pitch again this season?
-- Jeff, D., Alex., Va.
This belongs to Ladson: "There is an update. He is currently on a throwing program and the Nationals are hoping he can pitch in the big leagues by Sept. 1.
When can we expect to see guys like Justin Maxwell, Chris Marrero, Mike Daniel, and Michael Burgess to be called up to the big leagues?
-- Jeff, D. Alex., Va.
Maxwell-2009 at some point, 2010 for good (if he's ever healthy, which is unlikely)
Marrero-2010 cup of coffee, 2011 for good (if he stays healthy and doesn't regress)
Daniel-2009 at some point, 2011 for good (if he's ever good enough)
Burgess-2010 mid-season callup, up for good (most confident that Burgess will be the star of these 4)
Does Austin Kearns really have a future in Major League Baseball? This is the second season that he has been terrible with the bat, and it doesn't seem to be improving. He is also a rally killer.
-- Patrick B., Fairfax, Va.
Kearns is not this bad. Something's wrong with him physically. He'll be fine next year (assuming he's healthy).
With no one to take Nick Johnson's place in the Minors, are the Nationals going to give him one more chance to be the everyday first baseman?
-- Steven S., Washington, D.C.
They'll continue to give him chances for the length of his contract (which means through the end of next season). I doubt they'll sign a free agent of any real value, but expect to see some combination of Rhinehart, Montz, Casto, Broadway and Jimenez there next year.
Might I add that this would be a great time to have Josh Whitesell and his .331/.428/.564 AAA line. But JimBow decided that it would be more important to have Lo Duca, Estrada and Mackowiak on the 40-man roster (just like he decided it was more important to have Matt LeCroy in 2006 than Darrell Rasner). And when he dumped Claudio Vargas on waivers. And on and on....
That's another shortcoming of Bowden-he is awful with waivers.
OK, I have reached my boiling point now with Bowden. The way he handled the Chad Cordero situation just oozes lack of decency and sportsmanship. Chad has been a warrior for the Expos/Nationals and for Bowden to treat him like that -- announcing to the media that he would be non-tendered -- was uncalled for.
-- Tim R., Auburn, N.Y.
I'm equally appalled. FIRE BOWDEN!!!!!1!!!one!!