Who do you think will be the Nationals' Opening Day shortstop?
-- Patrick S., Chantilly, Va.
Ian Desmond. I honestly don't think the Nats will make a run at an ML-worthy 2B or SS, leaving them with Desmond at SS and Guzman at 2B.
It seems odd that the Nationals would offer arbitration to right-hander Jason Bergmann. Likeable as he is, he's an average pitcher at best.
-- Mike H., Washington
Average at best, yes, but what else describes the Nats bullpen? I'm surprised they didn't non-tender him and try to bring him back at a cheaper salary, but to be honest, it's not a truly cost-prohibitive decision.
What do you think the rotation and bullpen will look like on Opening Day next year? I expect Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen not to be on the roster until later in 2010.
-- Keith C., Greenbelt, Md.
Rotation: Lannan, Detwiler, Olsen, Garland, Marquis
Bullpen: Bergmann, Balester, Burnett, Clippard, Mock and Bruney as the Closer.
Strasburg and Storen will not be in the Majors until at least a month in, I bet.
If the Nationals are unable to land a "Big Time" starter this offseason, do you see any potential trade packages that could land Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay?
-- Michael L., Williamsburg Va.
Well, I obviously missed the boat on this one, but such a deal would cost some sort of a combination of Norris, Storen, Desmond and Marrero (plus maybe some pitchers like Detwiler and Mock), and I don't think the Nats could (or would even want to) match the Phillies' offer.
Will Clippard get a shot in the rotation? He's deadly against left-handed hitters. Just ask Bobby Cox, who would like to have him.
-- Brandon D., Muncie, Ind.
Deadly against lefties, yes, but he still had a .207 BABIP last year. Expect plenty of regression, and further bullpen relegation.
Not too long, it was reported that the Nationals were shopping Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn because they are defensive liabilities. Why? There bats are crucial parts of the lineup, and with Nyjer Morgan, Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell in the mix, the defense is solid.
-- Ben F., Suffolk, Va.
The problem with the defensive whizzes is that only Morgan and Zimmerman are actually starters. The team, in my opinion, has 2 plus fielders in Morgan and Zimmerman, 2 minus fielders in Willingham and Dunn, 2 average fielders in Rodriguez/Flores and Dukes and 2 average fielders with a bigger potential to fall into the lower category than the higher in Desmond and Guzman.
I still like the potential of left-hander Matt Chico. Based on his progress in rehab, what do you think his chances are of being with the team in 2010?
-- Todd B., Smithsburg, Md.
I'm admittedly not a big fan about Chico. He had a below average, yet still lucky, year in 2007. I don't think he'll be back for good, unless he comes back with control and durability.