What position will Dunn play this season?
-- Ambrose D., Rockville, Md.
Left field, until Nick the Stick gets hurt at least. He'll play 1B exclusively in 2010.
Josh Willingham used to be a catcher. With the crowded outfield, is there any possibility that he could be the team's starting or backup catcher?
-- Alex C., Montreal, Canada
"That is a good question. I just don't see it at this time. The only way I see Willingham behind the plate is if Jesus Flores and Wil Nieves are hurt. The Nationals are happy with what they have at the catcher position."-Ladson
The only way Willingham SHOULDN'T catch is if he's physically incapable of doing it anymore (and I could see that being the case). The Nats being happy with their catchers is a terrible excuse, as Willingham would be a HUGE upgrade over Nieves and a much better hitter at least than Flores.
The Nationals gave up on second baseman Orlando Hudson because he was out of their price range, but he signed with the Dodgers for $3.4 million. If this was too much, how much did they expect to pay for him?
-- Chris V., Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
"I don't think Washington needed a second baseman. I think Ronnie Belliard, Willie Harris and Anderson Hernandez are good enough to play the position."-Ladson
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Belliard is a good hitter and a bad fielder, Hernandez is a bad hitter and a good fielder and Harris (to this point at least) hasn't seemed to be in the Nats' plans at 2B.
I'm guessing Hudson would have cost us ~$4 mil at least. We have to overpay for free agents since we were so bad last year. With his injury concerns, I can understand why the Nats passed, but to say they didn't need a second baseman is preposterous.
What's pitcher Jack McGeary's current status? I thought I had heard that he was leaving Stanford this spring to concentrate on baseball full time. Is he in Viera, Fla. ?
-- Hendo, Silver Spring, Md.
"McGeary is still at Stanford and is not expected to report to camp until Monday. There have been reports that McGeary is going to quit school, but he has not made it official."-Ladson
That's a legit scoop, Bill. All of the speculation led us to believe it was a 100% deal. Guess we all spoke too soon.
I thought reliever Chad Cordero did not want to come back to the Nationals, yet I am hearing constantly that club is interested in signing him. Is Cordero seriously thinking about signing with Washington?
-- Jonathan P., Woodbridge, Va.
"Now that Jim Bowden is no longer the general manager, I think there is no question that Cordero would consider coming back to the Nationals. Cordero was upset that Bowden announced last May that he would be non-tendered. Such an announcement is not made until the offseason. Cordero vowed not to come back to Washington if Bowden was the GM."-Ladson
2 scoops in 1 mailbag! I like it! I'm sure the Chief would love to be back with the Nats-they're probably willing to pay him more than anyone else (for nostalgic purposes) and he would have way fewer people in his way when he attempts his comeback.
Given that Austin Kearns hasn't played well since he arrived in Washington, shouldn't the Nationals be looking at Jorge Padilla as a backup outfielder? He comes a lot cheaper.
-- Neil B., Sheffield, England
Padilla is terrible. Off the top of my head, here are 14 players that I'd rather see in our OF than him on Opening Day: Dukes, Milledge, Dunn, Willingham (all givens), Harris, Kearns (more upside), Pena (more upside), Davis, Maxwell, Langerhans, Casto, Bernadina, Lowrance and Daniel. I might even consider Dmitri Young and Corey Patterson. Padilla has no ML upside-he's a AAAA player and a mediocre one at that. He's not worth a second look, to be honest. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but he'll be a Syracuse Sky Chief all year.
What are Dmitri Young's chances of making a Major League roster? He was the Nats' best player two years ago.
-- Dick L., Centreville, Va.
If Johnson gets hurt, it's about a 50/50 shot (assuming Meat's health, which is never a good assumption to make). If everyone's healthy, less than 10%. He needs to get under 300 pounds before we even think about it.