Monday, October 6, 2008

Mailbag time!

It's the most exciting part of the day for me, as I sit here waiting for the oh-so-exciting Environmental Geosciences class to convene (another movie on earthquakes!! YAYYY!!!)

Here's your non-BS mailbag answers:

Do you think Elijah Dukes will play center field and Lastings Milledge will move to left field in 2009?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

As our buddy Ladson says, if Dukes' knee can handle it, he WILL be the starting center fielder and Milledge WILL be the starting left fielder. That's the way it should be, at least until Millz with Thrillz can learn how to play center.

Do the Nationals have any building blocks? This team doesn't look like a Major League roster.
-- Scott C., Washington, D.C.

I'm sorry, Scott, but that's an ignorant question. A "building block" is a player who the team can use as a centerpiece. An entire team is not made of "building block" players. The Nats have building blocks in Zimmerman and Dukes, that's all. Flores, Lannan, Milledge, etc. have the chance to become centerpieces with solid 2009 campaigns, but only Zimmerman and Dukes seem like they're on the fast track to stardom.

Is right-hander Jason Bergmann still a part of Nats' long-term plans?
-- Frank H., Northampton, UK

I don't see how anyone in their right mind would put Martis into the 2009 rotation plans as Ladson suggests (he still needs a LOT of seasoning), but I see Lannan, Redding, Zimmermann and Balester getting guaranteed rotation spots and various major and minor league FA's competing with the likes of Bergmann and Hill (if healthy) and others for the 5th spot.

Now that he has shown a 91-92 mph fastball and command of two other pitches, is Mike Hinckley a candidate for the rotation in 2009?
-- Roger B., Bethesda, Md.

No. He had 7 seasons in the minors to prove himself as a starter. He had success in relief in 2008 and will stick there as long as he has success.

The Nationals have made a lot of player moves in the past 12 months. What grade would you give them in that regard?
-- Mike E. Springfield, Va.

On a 5 point grading scale:
5.0-Dukes, Wee Willie
4.0-Odalis, Milledge
3.0-Gonzalez, Hernandez
1.0-Mackowiak, Estrada, Lo Duca

Average grade-2.7, around a C average.

Can you update us on the contract status of players after this season?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

From Ladson:

Free agents: Aaron Boone, 1B; Odalis Perez, LHP
Eligible for arbitration: Jesus Colome, RHP; Chad Cordero, RHP; Willie Harris, OF; Ryan Langerhans, OF Tim Redding, RHP; Zimmerman, 3B.
Player options: Wily Mo Pena, OF, $2 million.
Club options: Pena, OF, $5 million.

What about Orr?

I'm a big supporter of Cordero. Can you tell me what his future is with this team?
-- Heywood U., Tampa, Fla.

He won't be back.

Why hasn't there been any love for right-hander Steven Shell? His ERA is one of the lowest on the squad. He seems to be a quiet kid. Shell does his job and has been a rock since his June callup.
-- Matt E., Washington D.C.

He's the man. I love him. Oddly, he hasn't been tagged here, so he has flown (flied? flew?) under the radar (so much I didn't include him in the offseason acquisitions). So I'll tag him here and say he's a very pleasant surprise.

Bowden and manager Manny Acta said they want to obtain a slugging left-handed bat. What are the chances of them obtaining first baseman Mark Teixeira to fill that roll?
-- Jim T., Beaufort, S.C.

Are you kidding? Lerners open their wallets? 0%.

Also-required reading. Will probably comment more later.


  1. i love the lack of BS on this blog. its good to know not to get expectations up about any offseason acquisitions

  2. For the record, Pete Orr will be a FA again after this season.

    Steven Shell pitches remarkably well at sea level, as opposed to places like Salt Lake City.

    If we sign Tex we lose the Strasburg Sweepstakes. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.


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