First off, the Nats are apparently scouting Aaron Crow again this year. He would have to give the Nats his permission to be drafted again by them this year. I think the scouting is procedural-you have to scout the top 100 or 500 or 1000 players no matter what, even if you're probably not going to pick him. But I doubt he would give the Nats his permission to be re-drafted and even if he did, I doubt the Nats would re-draft him.
The Nats traded for Logan Kensing and signed Mike Macdougal recently, both of which are good moves in my opinion. You can never have enough pitching (as we've learned so far) and we gave up basically nothing for either of them. Chances are, they will probably suck (or continue to pitch the way the Nats have this year-tons of BB's), but it's always worth a shot. The only cost is money, and since it's not my money I like it!
I also like the Martis complete game. 6 K's and 0 BB's and only 110 pitches in 9 innings works for me. I think Manny's babying of our pitchers is ridiculous at times, especially considering the state of our bullpen. A step in the right direction, I guess.
Tony Gwynn says Strasburg could start in the Majors and be the Nats' #1 starter right away. I agree. Talent-wise, nobody is even comparable in the system, and he's best off hanging around our best pitching mind in Randy St. Claire anyways. At this point, I don't see how the Nats can not start him in the Majors.
Continue to keep an eye on DC Pro Sports Report's mock draft databases. Through 12 mocks of the 2009 MLB draft, there is really a mixed bag amongst candidates for the Nats' second pick. The only repeated player is University of Georgia 1B Rich Poythress. I would be stoked if he fell to the Nats at 10-he has 20 HR and more BB than K so far this year.
Dunn's "Natinals" jersey commanded $8000 at the Dream Gala. If I had that kind of money to throw around, I would probably buy it as well.
Hanrahan wants the closer job back. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that by the All Star Break, he'll have it back. Once he strings together 5 or so good appearances in a row, he'll be ready to get it back.
Even though it was previously unimaginable, the Caps' future is even brighter with Simeon Varlamov shutting the door in the playoffs. I only got to see the 3rd period of Saturday's 3-2 win over the Penguins, but saw the replay of his sprawling save on Crosby about 4000 times. Nice job, Varly!
Here's your inbox:
Do you believe Dukes is the Nationals' best player?
-- John J., Washington
Talent-wise, yes. Production-wise, it's Zimmerman. Dukes has been disappointing in the field so far, while Zimmerman is good across the board.
Do you think Milledge will ever play for the Nats again, or will he be traded. I would think Dukes is entrenched as the center fielder.
-- Dennis Walsh, Silver Spring, Md.
Forecast for Milledge's future: Partly cloudy with 100% chance of playing for the Nats. How Rizzo handles this situation might dictate getting the "acting" dropped from his title. Trading Milledge now would be a horrible mistake-his value is clearly at his lowest. There's no reason to trade away a 24 year old with a ton of talent when he's at a valley in terms of value.
If Daniel Cabrera continues to be shaky, do you think the front office would be willing to see if Collin Balester could do a better job?
-- Bryan A., Fairfield, Conn.
Another big question for Rizzo's future is how he handles this. I know the Lerners would hate to eat his $2.6 mil contract, but he's clearly never going to live up to his potential. Rizzo could try to hide him in the bullpen or send him to AAA to learn how to pitch correctly, but I think an outright release (or a trade, if somebody's dumb enough) are the most likely. I'm going to guess that we ride out Cabrera's inefficiency until Strasburg signs and takes his spot...just a gut guess.
In the wake of recent closer woes, can you shed some light on why the Nationals got rid of Steven Shell?
-- Cordell F., Washington
Shell was redonkulously lucky last year. He's a decent pitcher who I'm sure they would have loved to keep in AAA for depth, but he's not a vital member of our bullpen. He's simply just not that good.
It was reported the Nats have interest in Pedro Martinez. If so, they should go after him.
-- Dennis W. Silver Spring, Md.
You're preaching to the choir, dude. $5 mil is a little too much to pay for Pedro though, so when the price comes down they should make it happen.
I have been following the Nationals/Expos from the very beginning, and I like the young pitchers. I'm also confident that the Nationals will have 20-22 more wins this year than last. I know that sounds over the top, but I sincerely believe it.
-- Dan R., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
At the beginning of the year, I would say "hey, it can happen." 20-22 more wins would still only be 79-81 total, which would put us around/at .500. Possible, but after this atrocious start, I can confidently say 70 wins will be a success.
That's all I've got for the time being. Now I'm off to catch up on my 1000+ items on my Google Reader.