With the acquisition of Josh Willingham and rumors swirling about the Nats wanting Carlos Gonzalez, I can't help but notice that the team has a lot of outfielders. What do they plan on doing with all of them?
-- Pat R., Oakton, Va.
Well...most teams carry 5 outfielders. Either Pena or Kearns will be moved by Opening Day I bet. I'd rather hold on to all 5 (Pena, Kearns, Dukes, Willingham and Milledge). All of them spent time on the DL in 2008 (Milledge played 138 games, Willingham played 102, Kearns played 86, Dukes played 81 and Pena played 64. That's a total of 471, whereas 3 outfielders multiplied by 162 starts a year equals 486, so that might not even be enough depth! Resign Willie and Langerhans!
How do you think Scott Olsen will impact the clubhouse dynamic? He's not known for his cool.
-- Unidentifed Nats fan, Washington, D.C.
FishStripes, a Marlins blog, has (on at least 3 different occasion) stated Scott Olsen has been given an unfair shake in the media, saying things like:
"There are too many comments by his present and former teammates to lead one to believe he his a jerk," (Feb 2008)
"Scott isn't a bad person and actually he is a good kid, warts and all. Just try to find one of the off-season meet the players functions where he isn't there. Olsen made more fan appreciation and charity events scheduled by the team than any other player last season. That alone doesn't qualify you for good kid status, but his teammates state emphatically that he is, and they should know," (Aug 2007)
Do the Nats have a legitimate chance at landing Mark Teixeira, or is it just talk?
-- Chris E., Glendale, Calif.
If they put up the money, they have a legitimate chance. Here was my reasoning that I posted on the comments of MLBTR.com back on Nov 9: "The Nats have some decent up-and-coming prospects. Nothing too amazing, but they could be able to hit .500 this season with him if the right players get healthy and the young guys improve. Tex could go down in history as the guy who turned the Nats from a loser to a winner. Or he could go down in history as the guy who played first base for the Yankees after Jason Giambi." I know it won't necessarily work out that way, but I'd like to think the Nats would be a better fit for him than most teams.
Now that Emilio Bonifacio has been traded to the Marlins for Olsen and Willingham, do you think trading Jon Rauch to the D-backs for Bonifacio was a good trade? The Rauch trade never sat well with me, and I think this confirms the Nationals lost out in the deal.
-- Will R., Rose Haven, Md.
I went back and forth on the deal for a while, but in the end, I don't think it was a good deal. I do think that the deal was salvaged by the Olsen deal. My initial (documented) opinion was kinda non-commital: "My first reaction is that we got a decent player in a position of need. I think we could have gotten more for Rauch (perhaps another low-level prospect), but if this was Rauch's market, I'm happy. I heard rumors of Reid Brignac for Rauch, which would have made me happier, but this is fine." I went back on July 30th and changed my mind: "I tried to rationalize it for a while, but it simply wasn't a great trade for the Nats. Now that being said it could end up being a win for the team, but Rauch is worth more than Bonifacio. They should have (and definitely could have) gotten more than Emilio." One note-Nats Journal commenters ended up voting 61% to 39% in favor of the trade. I know I originally voted in favor. Would be interesting to see Chico run a new poll over there.
I agree with you that the Nats should play the kids. But is there any indication they will? They have a lot of young outfielders and now they have more. No matter how good they are, I don't see a place for Roger Bernadina, Leonard Davis or Justin Maxwell.
-- Garry F., Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Canadian math: Bernadina+Davis+Maxwell>Milledge+Dukes
Uhhh. I think not. Maxwell's always hurt, Davis hasn't proved much above AA so far and Bernadina was awful his first time around in the majors (and only decent his second time there). If we were talking someone of Burgess' talent level that was ready, I would agree. But none of these guys project as starting ML outfielders in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the new jerseys? Will they amount to more wins in 2009?
-- Michael S., Mount Airy, Md.
As for more wins-does anyone feel like crunching some numbers to see if there is any correlation between getting new uniforms and getting more wins? It would be a coincidence, but an interesting coincidence in my opinion.