Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Inbox!

I'm pleased with the Nationals' moves this offseason, but I've grown to really like players such as Tyler Clippard, Matt Chico, Wil Nieves and Jason Bergmann. Is there a chance these guys could be overlooked in Spring Training because of all the moves the Nats have made?
-- Ben F., Suffolk, Va.

Wil Nieves is not going to make the team permanently (unless Flores' condition continues to worsen). Matt Chico is not good enough to make the team. Clippard and Bergmann will make the team but the new guys should give them a run for their money.

Are the Nats still in the running to sign Aroldis Chapman?
-- Frank L., Fairfax, Va.

I doubt it. As great as it would be to sign him, I don't think it's gonna happen.

Why don't the Nationals go after Matt Holliday? It would be a clear message that the club wants to win.
-- Michael M., Arlington, Va.

Holliday is a great player, but we're talking a huge financial commitment in both dollars and years. The dollars aren't a big deal to me, because it's not my money. But the Nats shouldn't be making a long commitment to free agents if they can. Flexibility is a good thing.

I like having all these options at closer, but who will be the long reliever?
-- Ken S., Gaithersburg, Md.

I'll go with Balester. I think he'll have a solid 2010.

Cristian Guzman has received a bad rap lately. He was one of the National League's batting leaders for the first half of 2009, and we found out that he was playing through several injuries that accounted for his decreased fielding range. He has always been a good clubhouse guy, so what's the worry?
-- Kyle S., Arlington, Va.

He keeps getting older, keeps getting hurt and still can't take a walk. He's an overpaid underperformer. Batting average is the only tool he has that can be above average.

Does Washington still have interest in bringing back Livan Hernandez for veteran presence in the rotation? Also, is Ben Sheets a possibility?
-- Alex C., Montreal

Interest? Sure. But I think they'll go bigger than Livo. If he's willing to put in time in Syracuse, they'll sign him, but I don't think they want to count on him in DC this year. I don't think they'll risk the money on Sheets, either. I think it's a good idea to go after guys like him (because 80 great innings are better than 160 crappy ones), but I just don't see the Nats going in that direction right now.

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