How much playing time do you think Ivan Rodriguez will get? I think it would be a waste if he gets only the amount of playing time Wil Nieves had last year. Pudge can still provide some serious offense besides his defensive skills.
-- Alex C., Montreal
He'll get more than that just because Flores is so injury-prone. I have a feeling that Flores' injury might be worse than we think...if that's the case, Nieves might even get as much time this year as he did last year.
How much interest are the Nationals showing in Aroldis Chapman? It looks like his upside could be as high as Stephen Strasburg's and, if signed, would give the club an outstanding top of the rotation for years to come.
--- Jeff O., Victoria, Texas
I'm not expecting them to make a big run for them, and I can't really blame them. Chapman has a lot of talent, but he is nowhere near the polished prospect Strasburg is. A team that doesn't spend a lot of money throwing $15 mil at a guy who isn't a sure thing doesn't pass the smell test to me.
Would Felipe Lopez be a good fit at second base for the Nats?
-- Sean B., Washington
Absolutely not. What a friggin' bum. Whoever signs him is going to be disappointed-his BABIP in 2009 was almost 30 points higher than it had ever been before. He'll come back down to earth and make somebody else's fans miserable in 2010.
What happened to all the John Smoltz buzz? It seems like ages ago that we've heard anything about the Nats trying to acquire a starting pitcher. If you were in Rizzo's shoes, which free-agent pitchers would you sign?
-- Scott W., Onley, Va.
I agree with Ladson that Smoltz and the Nats have mutual interest, but more in terms of a each side having a backup date to prom. I think the Nats might chase Jon Garland but end up with Doug Davis. I'm always wary of both for some reason (I guess I just expect the bottom to fall out sometime soon), but if we could get either on a one-year deal in the $5-7 mil range, I wouldn't be opposed to it.
What are the Nationals' options if Cristian Guzman can`t play second base?
-- Ryan L., Dunn, N.C.
Gonzalez and Harris are the likeliest options, but a dark horse could be Mike Morse. He played 19 games at 2B for Tacoma in 2009. Reasonable FA options include Orlando Hudson, Mark Derosa, Kelly Johnson and even Ronnie Belliard.
What are the chances of bringing Vladimir Guerrero back into the organization?
-- Kelvin A., Rockville, Md.
None unless they trade Willingham or Dunn. Guerrero is not a good fit for an NL team anyways-he only played 16 innings in the field in 2009.
What's the status of Chris Marrero? Can we expect him in the big leagues anytime soon?
-- Colin W., Germantown, Md.
To be honest, I have no clue. Marrero is at the age where he can either catapult through the system and end up in DC in September (fairly likely) or bottom out completely and be done with baseball (highly unlikely). He didn't look very good in 84 PA's at Harrisburg, but that's a very small sample size. We'll know for sure when the ASG rolls around whether or not he can hack it in AA.