I would think a player as strong as outfielder Elijah Dukes would hit far more home runs than he has this season. What are the Nationals doing to improve Dukes' long ball production?
-- Mike, M. Smithfield, Va.
Pitch recognition and getting into hitters counts are the two buzz-topics for Dukes' lack of success at the plate this year, and I tended to agree at first...but then I looked at his game logs. Since coming back from AAA on August 1, Dukes has greatly improved his plate discipline, with 23 walks and 23 strikeouts, but only 12 extra base hits in 46 games. I'm guessing (and hoping) his current lack of power is just an aberration and will come back next year...but 11 HR in 482 PA through all levels this year is a little bit worrisome.
Do you think Dukes will be with the Nationals next season?
-- Kay B., Washington D.C.
Without a doubt. He's the most talented player in the entire system, has been a model citizen in Washington and is under team control. Rizzo's not a dummy-he's not going to dump Dukes.
Is it possible that the Nationals attempt to acquire DC native Emmanuel Burriss to fill the void at second base? He seems like a solid middle infielder, and I can see him becoming a fan favorite if he was a member of the Nats.
-- Alex H. Washington, D.C.
A move like this wouldn't surprise me, but I don't think Burriss is on the Giants' trade block, nor do I think he is a great option to start for the Nats. As a backup/platoon role, sure, but he's worth more to San Francisco right now than the Nats.
As well as Desmond has played since being called up, don't you think he deserves a chance to take over the starting shortstop position next season, with Guzman moving to second or being dealt? Desmond seems to have a great glove and I think he would fit nicely in the second spot in the order behind Nyjer Morgan.
-- Ryan K, Carlisle, Pa.
The chances of Desmond being the starting SS next year are above 50% I'd say. At the end of the day, I don't think Guzman is going to switch to 2B easily (or happily) and will probably end up being dealt. I'm still hoping for a Desmond-Iwamura infield.
Would the Nationals trade for outfielder Milton Bradley if the Cubs paid all of his salary?
-- David L., Poland
If the Cubs paid all of his salary (unlikely), I would put the chances of it happening at .01%. If they did not pay all of his salary, 0%. The Nats don't particularly need Bradley and it doesn't make sense to add a headache when you don't particularly need the player.
Looks like nothing has changed. This is why I don't like you. You want to trade Adam Dunn? What does this guy have to do to please you? Without him the offense would collapse.
-- Richard A., Annapolis, Md.
"You are entitled to your opinion about me. To your first question,: Yes, indeed, if I could get top pitching and defense in a trade for Dunn, it would make sense. He doesn't have to please me. The question was, if I were in Rizzo's shoes what I would do? I would look to see Dunn gain more range when it comes to playing first base. There is no question Dunn has been great with the bat."
Top pitching in a trade for Dunn? I'll take some of that! Too bad nobody will give up top pitching for Adam Dunn....
2009 Nationals season in graphs (Beyond the Box Score)
The best and worst MLB projections of the year (Vegas Watch) (note-we'll be going over our projections when the season officially ends)
Stammen willing to pitch out of the pen next year (Ladson's Blog)
The Nats celebrate their 5th anniversary today! (Nationals Journal)
Bobby Valentine doesn't rule out returning to the Mets (Yahoo! Sports)