Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Pretty soon, the Nationals' injured pitchers are going to return to the mound, with left-hander Ross Detwiler most likely being the first one to come back. Having shown some potential last year, will the Nationals make an effort to bring him back once his rehab assignment is finished?
-- Evan S., Chevy Chase, Md.
Detwiler, along with guys like Stammen and Atilano, should not be assumed members of the starting rotation at any given point in time. What have any of them proved in their short stints in the majors? All three could (and should) get some more seasoning in AAA once Strasburg is up for good and the rest of the rotation gets healthy.
It seems like the Nats' offense has been lackluster lately. Are the Nats looking to upgrade anywhere offensively?
-- Matt W., Bowie, Md.
I certainly hope so. Bernadina, as good as his last week or so has been, is not a starting right fielder on a contender. He needs to start taking walks and cutting down on strikeouts if he wants to stay in the starting lineup. The Nats should go for a RF upgrade, but beyond that, I can't think of a realistic upgrade for their lineup. Pudge, Dunn, Kennedy/Guz/Desmond, Zim, Willingham, Morgan and an upgraded RF is the best case scenario (out of realistic scenarios, at least) for this year.
Do you think the Nats will take a chance on outfielder Pat Burrell so they could get more power in right field? It also gives him a chance to go back to the National League East.
-- Ben P., Alton, IL
I certainly hope not. Burrell is Adam Dunn without the bat. He didn't hit last year, didn't hit this year and couldn't field, throw or run when he could hit back in the day. Unless he's willing to sign a minor league deal, I can't say "no" enough.
I know Willie Harris has been a great role player for the Nationals these past few years but he is just not performing this year. His average is not good. I know it is early, but how many chances are we going to give this guy? I would rather see Kevin Mench or someone like that up here who will at least provide us with a great option off the bench. Thanks
-- Mike N., Buffalo, N.Y.
His average has never been good, even when he's been a productive bench player. And what do you mean by "how many chances are we going to give this guy?" Harris is nowhere near roster bubble material right now. Guys like Bernadina and Maxwell would probably get sent down before Harris because they still have options and guys like Gonzalez and Morse might get sent down before Harris as well even though they are out of options. But right now, the Nats really don't have any batters to call up and there is nobody really out there to sign, so why even have this discussion?
When Stephen Strasburg arrives in the Majors, who is most likely to lose his spot in the starting rotation?
-- Ryan K., Carlisle, Pa.
Ladson has it right: whoever has the best 2 or 3 starts before Strasmas out of Stammen and Atilano will get to stay up. Stammen seems to step it up every time his roster spot is threatened, so I'll put my money on him for now. It won't matter too much, though, because some combination of Wang, Detwiler and Marquis will probably displace both by the all-star break.
Do you think Cristian Guzman could be a full-time right fielder? We could use his bat full time in the lineup.
-- Michael W., Silver Spring, Md.
Right now, we can use Guzman's bat in the lineup. But once he returns to being .290/.320/.400 hitting Cristian Guzman, being a utility player is just fine. I think that he should play a little more right field in the time being, but the Nats need to find a true RF solution, and soon.
If the Nats stay competitive for the next two months, do you think management will be active before the July 31 trade deadline? If so, what does management feel the biggest need is, and who might they possibly go after?
-- Dean O., Winnipeg, Canada
I have a good feeling that the Nats will be buyers rather than sellers at the deadline as long as they're around .500. I don't think they're gonna sell off the whole team and I don't think they'll stand pat. I could see them looking at guys like Corey Hart, Jody Gerut, Conor Jackson, Ty Wigginton, Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, Carlos Quentin, Mark Teahen and David DeJesus. I'm a big fan of DeJesus. If they chase after some pitchers, your names could be Roy Oswalt, Kevin Millwood, Javier Vazquez, Jake Westbrook or Wandy Rodriguez. This is pretty much just baseless speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nats run after some of those guys. Not advocating all of those names, of course...just throwing them out.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Unfortunately, no. The '94 Expos had an awesome pitching staff, with 4 of their 5 starters possessing ERA's under 3.42 (2 of whom had ERA's under 2.99). The bullpen was similarly great, anchored by John Wetteland and Mel Rojas. The current Nats could end up with comparable bats, but there is no way their rotation and bullpen could touch the '94 Expos 3.56 team ERA, 2.5 BB/9 rate or 7.0 K/9 rate. I'd be surprised if the Nats came within a run on the ERA, a walk on the BB/9 or a K on the K/9.
First baseman Adam Dunn wants to stay in Washington and is beloved by the fans. How far along are the contract talks between him and the Nationals? When can we expect to see him signed to an extension? -- Kevin H., Upper Marlboro, Md.
FJB had an excellent post on this situation last week, essentially warning the Nats that he could be on the track to aging very quickly. I like Adam Dunn a lot, but the Nats need to avoid signing older players or players with diminishing skill sets to long-term deals, both now and in the future.
With Luis Atilano pitching so well, what will happen to the rotation when Jason Marquis returns from his elbow injury? -- William B., Silver Spring, Md.
Atilano will go back to AAA then. He's been good through 2 games, but we're still talking about a 12 IP sample size. He's only struck out 2 batters while walking 5 in this timeframe; something tells me his current success is unsustainable unless he improves that ratio.
When will we see Jesus Flores behind the plate? -- Marcio D., Washington
Ladson says "Hopefully after the All-Star break." I'm certainly hoping for that.
Matt Capps is off to a great start. However, Storen is the closer of the future. Will the Nats look to trade Capps while his value is high? -- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.
I hope the Nats sell high on him if they find themselves out of contention early next year, but he's under control for another year, so I'll say no for now.
It seems the Nats are currently enjoying an abundance of starting pitching. Is it time to trade for a big bat in right field? -- Brian G., Richmond, Va.
They absolutely need to do something about their right field situation. I like having Maxwell's bat against lefties in a platoon, but I'm afraid that he won't get enough reps in that kind of situation (and if he does, the Nats could suffer). I don't think Roger Bernadina, Willie Harris or Willy Taveras are legitimate options for RF if the Nats consider themselves a team that wants to hang around .500 and think they need to make a minor-to-medium trade (perhaps for a guy like Corey Hart?) to fix things.
What do you think the Nationals should do with their 2010 first-round Draft pick? Should they get Bryce Harper or is there anyone else that you think would benefit the Nationals?
-- Robert B., Eastchester, N.Y.
Unless something drastic happens with Bryce Harper (mainly an injury), he's the only option for the Nats IMO.
Livan Hernandez is pitching great. Why did the Nationals trade him to the D-backs in 2006? They could have had an ace on the staff.
-- Michael W., Silver Spring, Md.
It was obviously a tanking technique used by the Nats to ensure they lost as many games as possible to be able to draft Strasburg and Harper. Livan Hernandez is unquestionably one of the premier aces in the majors, and has been since 1997.
The setup man/closer combo of Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps seems to be the most efficient since Luis Ayala and Chad Cordero. What do you think?
-- Alex C., Montreal
It's been great so far, and the Nats certainly haven't had this kind of late-game stability since the Chief and Ayala (and Majewski for that matter) in 2005. But let's not count our chickens before they hatch. Plus, getting to the 8th and 9th might be an adventure this summer.
How does the 2010 Nationals team compare to '05 off the field, not the stuff that we can see from watching the game?
-- William Y., Washington
I'm certainly not qualified to answer this question because I can only watch the games...but losing Jose Guillen can't be a bad thing for off-the-field matters.
With Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina platooning in right field, what does that mean for Willy Taveras?
-- Eric, Washington
Hopefully it means he'll be spending his summer in Syracuse.
Right now, right-hander Brian Bruney is the exact opposite of what the Nats expected of him. How much more patience do you think the organization will have with him before taking some kind of action?
-- Richard H., Toronto
I think the Nats will give Bruney a shot until Storen gets his call to the bigs (late May/early June). They didn't really give anything up for him, so I can see them having a semi-short leash with him.
With Derek Norris waiting in the wings, I don't believe the Nats should draft Bryce Harper. I think signability could become a factor with Scott Boras advising him. What do you think about Harper and the possibility of Washinton taking him?
-- Nic P. , Philadelphia
Glad you're not the GM. Catchers of the future don't always stick behind the plate, you know. And a lot of them flame out, too. Having multiple ones would not be a bad thing.
At what point can we expect to see Chien Ming-Wang in the rotation, and what are your expectations of his potential impact?
-- Michael L., Williamsburg, Va.
Ladson says he'll be back by June. I'm not expecting him to be good in his initial return but I think he'll start to regain some semblance of his old form toward the end of the year once he can gain a rhythm.