What is the point in wasting money on a pitcher like Daniel Cabrera, who has a career ERA over 5.00 and did not win more than 10 games in the past four seasons? What am I missing here?
-- Alex C., Montreal
You're missing the fact that he has so much "upside" and "potential."
Sarcasm aside, you can't be a successful pitcher in the ML if you give up an abnormal amount of hits AND walks. The amount of hits allowed are pretty hard to change, so he'll have to lower his walks to be worth it. Looks like JimBow made another stupid move...he's the pitching equivalent of Nook Logan. A change in scenery will supposedly benefit Cabrera...yeah, just like a change in scenery benefited Jose Vidro.
Why haven't the Nationals given third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the team's most respected player, the contract he deserves?
-- Eileen S., Arlington, Va.
It's been a while since I've really paid attention to the subject, but last I saw Zimmerman wanted to be paid like so-and-so player and the Nats wanted to pay him like Troy Tulowitzski. Problem is, both players (forgive me for forgetting Zim's "comparable") were in completely different situations when they signed those contracts, either in the number of years of team control left or in actual performance. So without a precedent, these things will take time. Be patient, I have full faith that Zimmerman will be around past his final arb-eligible year.
A leadoff hitter has always been a problem since the Nationals arrived in Washington. Is free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson on the radar?
-- Rogers C., New Carrollton, Md.
Oh goodness, I hope so. Imagine what this team could do if they signed Hudson, Dunn and a starter like Randy Johnson. Trade Milledge for a young pitcher and you have a team that might actually be able to compete.
What is Elijah Dukes' future with the Nationals?
-- Phyllis D., Tampa, Fla.
His future with the Nationals coincides with his future in professional sports. If he stays out of trouble, he's ours for a long time, and he will be a force. I am not afraid to go out on a limb and say Elijah Dukes will be in the Hall of Fame if he stays out of trouble.
I know Wily Mo Pena is back because he exercised his player option, but with so many outfielders, what do you think the team is going to do with him?
-- Dan H., Aspen Hill, Md.
He'll befriend Riggleman on the bench, I suppose.
I know the Nationals have a lot of young talent. Which Minor Leaguers do you see battling for a Major League job?
-- Austin D., West Hartford, Conn.
Zimmermann, Balester, Atilano, Martin, Mock, Montz and maybe Bernadina/Maxwell if an OF is dealt.
Don't forget that it wasn't Nick Johnson's fault that he fractured his leg in 2006. He crashed into his own player. He should be back at full strength in 2009. I wouldn't give up on him. He has heart. He's working out every day to be stronger and ready to resume his position. He'll recover from the torn sheath in his right wrist just as he did with the fractured leg. The Nationals should save themselves $160 million dollars and put it where it's needed: pitching.
-- Johnson J., Sacramento, Calif.
Ladson was right on one part and wrong on the other. Johnson gets hurt almost every year. It's usually a "freak injury", but his injuries simply never heal quickly. Simple injuries that take other players a few days or weeks to recover turn into weeks or months for Johnson. Which is where Ladson made his wrong point. I'll just point you to FJB for the explanation for the "Johnson and David Ortiz had the same injury" dealio.
Is there any chance that the Nats will go after Willy Taveras? He steals bases and can play the outfield.
-- Dalton C., Olympia, Wa.