Do you think outfielders Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes will reach their full potential?
-- Matt B., Fairfax, Va.
Dukes-Yes (if he can stay out of jail).
Milledge-No (unless he develops better plate discipline and more power or suddenly has a breakthrough defending in center). P.S.-Milledge's B-R page is up for sponsorship. Hendo, you gonna jump on that?
I see you talking about everyone in the rotation, but you have never mentioned Tim Redding. He was the best starter on the team this past season. What is his future with the Nationals?
-- Jason T., Fort Worth, Texas
Ummm...by my calculations, John Lannan was #1 and Odalis Perez was #2. Nobody measures starting pitcher success by the number of wins anymore, Jason!
For the record, I doubt he gets non-tendered. I haven't seen the Rule V eligibles yet, though, so I reserve the right to change that (I see the Nats picking 1 or 2 guys up).
With Washington's need for pitching, has it expressed any interest in right-hander Carl Pavano?
-- Brian P., East Winthrop, Maine
"The team can't afford to have players on the DL like they did this past season."-Ladson
No, stupid, the team can't afford to have crappy players on the roster. The problem with the Nats isn't that their players get hurt, because every team has injured players. Their problem is that they rely wayyyy too much on guys with huge injury histories. Sign Pavano to a non-guaranteed deal, let him compete for the 5th rotation spot. I have the same feeling about Ben Sheets and Pedro Martinez. Both could be steals. Why not take the risk? These guys could turn out to be great pitchers if they stay healthy, and we're gonna suck either way. Might as well try for 2 compensation picks.
Any idea who the Nats are looking at for their No. 1 selection in next year's First-Year Player Draft? Is Steven Strasburg already a lock?
-- Jody D., McLean, Va.
Unless he sustains a major injury, it will be Strasburg. If he is the consensus #1 pick and the Nats don't choose him, I'm resigning from my fandom and becoming someone's bandwagon fan.
Last week, you wrote about the all-time Expos team. Andres Galarraga put in more years at first for the Expos, but honorable mention must go to Al Oliver. He put in two productive years at first for the franchise.
-- Rodney W., Arlington, Va.
Good story. You should write a book.
I've read all your stories since you were covering the Expos and I have a great amount of respect for you and your opinions. However, I believe you are too patient. I believe in giving someone a second chance, but not 10. Don't you think you can stop hoping for miracles for players like Nick Johnson or even managers like Frank Robinson? You wait too long for a productive result, then you acknowledge that maybe they weren't that great.
-- Alex C., Montreal
"You make a fair point. I think one has to be patient in this game."-Ladson
Is it just me, or does Ladson seem like the kind of person who would try to be patient with a ticking hand grenade?
Shouldn't the Nationals be more creative and aggressive with runners on base?
-- Efren M., Washington, D.C.
As Manny said this year, we can't afford to waste outs on the basepaths. If we can reach an extra base 70% of the time or more, it's worthwhile. We've got some decent speed in Millz with Thrillz, Dukes, Bonifacio, etc. but they're not good baserunners. Hopefully Marquis Grissom can help with them.