Who do you think will be the starting second baseman between Anderson Hernandez and Emilio Bonifacio in 2009?
-- Ray U., Shrewsbury, Mass.
No love for Belliard? Here's my fearless prediction: Bonifacio does not start the 2009 season in the majors.
Shouldn't Roger Bernadina be considered as an option for center field in 2009?
-- Luis H., San Juan, P.R.
No matter what Ladson says about Bernadina's 'swagger' his second time around, he's still not an improvement over Dukes (or Milledge for that matter). He, like Bonifacio, can still benefit from additional time in AAA and should start the season there (barring an excellent Spring Training out of either).
I get the impression you are not convinced Elijah Dukes is a solid citizen. He is one of our only hitting threats. I want his bat in the lineup next season.
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.
I don't see how going one year without threatening someone's life makes you a solid citizen. He is still not a solid citizen, but he is a darn good ballplayer.
Why wasn't Larry Broadway called up last September? Does he have a future in the Majors?
-- Daniel C., Key West, Fla.
Why did the Nats send Ryan Langerhans to the Minor Leagues? He seemed to have so much to offer.
-- James W., Warrenton, Va.
Because they can. While Langerhans is valuable in many ways, he still lacks major production with the bat (I say major because, while he does have good patience and power numbers, he still has huge holes in his swing and overall offensive game). His glove is valuable and he will be a National at some point this year...but he passed through waivers, so retrospectively, it was a good move.
Since the Nationals are looking for a veteran left-handed power hitter, what about signing Ken Griffey Jr.?
-- Nick K., McLean, Va.
Maybe as a coach, but Griffey is old, average offensively (.249/.353/.424 this year) and has lost a step in the outfield.
Is there anything to hang our hats on as far as going from worst to first in just one year? I realize this is speculation, but how likely is it that Washington will catch lightning in a bottle?
-- Brian Y., Takoma Park, Md.
No. Where we stand right now, we don't have the hitting, pitching or leadership to put up a winning record in 2009. Maybe with a few key free agents we can compete in 2010, but I'm going the pessimistic route and telling you not to get your hopes up.
I thought Boone was a good reserve. Could he still be with the Nationals for the 2009 season?
-- Megan, G., McLean, Va.
He could stick, but do we really want him back? .241/.299/.384 is pretty terrible. Even Larry Broadway could do that.
How long will it be until Ross Detwiler is in the starting rotation?
-- Andrew W., Alexandria, Va.
I can see the Nats pushing him up this September. Risky prediction, but it's just something I can see happening.
What has happened to Clint Everts?
-- Nick B., Houston
He, like 90% of high school pitchers drafted, flamed out. Watch out, Willems/Smoker/McGeary.
Are the Nationals waiting until after the World Series to interview coaching candidates?
-- Tom J., Reva, Va.
I'll let Ladson answer this one:
Oh, no. They have already contacted candidates such as former Mets manager Willie Randolph. Don Baylor could be a candidate. It's also assumed that Rick Eckstein will be the hitting coach. I also believe the Nationals will promote another coach from the Minor Leagues. Who that is, I don't know yet.
With the Padres shopping Jake Peavy, could the Nats become a serious contender to acquire him?
-- Brandon S., Easthampton, Mass.