Who do you see starting at first base for the Nationals this season?
-- Mark H., Washington, D.C.
Johnson will start at 1B as long as he's healthy, with Dunn in LF, Milledge in CF and Dukes in RF.
You've written that you don't feel that general manager Jim Bowden relies too heavily on former Reds. After the Dunn signing, has it made you rethink that Bowden is still wearing his Cincinnati bowtie?
-- Matt M., Winooski, Vt.
The Dunn signing is the one former Red that you WANT him to go after. Guys like Damian Jackson, Wily Mo Pena, Chris Michalak are the guys you don't want him to go after. It's a poor time to bring up this point in my opinion. Save it for when he goes after Calvin Pickering.
Why is Milledge penciled in ahead of Elijah Dukes in center field? Dukes has a better arm, glove, on-base and slugging percentage.
-- Trey O., Washington, D.C.
You're going to start Dukes and Milledge whenever they're both healthy. I, like you, would rather see Dukes in CF, but he does have the better arm (which is better suited for RF). We're not going to the World Series this year...might as well keep Milledge out there and see if a ball will hit him in the head and knock some sense into him.
I get the feeling that Anderson Hernandez is getting lost in the shuffle. I still believe Hernandez is the team's best option economically and on the field.
-- Dean C., Washington, D.C.
Why does everyone thing Anderson Hernandez is the 2B savior?!?!? Yeah, he hit great in 28 games for us near the end of last year. Did you notice that he hit .203/.262/.307 in AAA in 125 games? Or that his 10 BB to 8 K ratio is completely out of whack with his career numbers anywhere else (12:25 in ML, including the 10 walks from last year and 231:677 in AAA). Don't be disappointed when he puts up 2005 Guzmanic numbers. Expect it and be pleasantly surprised if he hits his career minor league line of .264/.310/.354.
The Nats have done a pretty good job selecting pitchers in the Draft. Will they make a concerted effort to find bats in this year's First-Year Player Draft?
-- Bern D., Washington, D.C.
I sure hope so. I know a team can't win without pitching, but there are no impact bats in this organization. We're already getting Strasburg at 1...if we have the choice between another Colten Willems and another Justin Smoak at 10, we better pick the Smoak-type.
If Joel Hanrahan can't hold onto the closer role, who is next in line for a chance as Washington's stopper?
-- Ed, New Jersey
Bill came up with a VERY intelligent answer. I've been pining for Shawn Hill to close since forever. It needs to be him-he's got the stuff and the first-time-through-the-lineup success.
With all of the outfielders in the organization, I have yet to hear the suggestion of having Willie Harris play second base.
-- Jeff, Washington, D.C.
He's our best option there. Belliard can't field, Hernandez can't hit and Wee Willie sits in the background saying "Put me in, Manny, I can do both!"