Back by popular demand, The Nationals Enquirer answers the mailbag for MLB.com's Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson. Bill provided his answers yesterday. Now it's our turn.
With shortstop Royce Clayton talking to the Nationals, is there any chance that Cristian Guzman could lose his starting position after such a bad year? I would much rather see Clayton at shortstop. -- E.K., Harrisonburg, Va.
Not if Jim Bowden is still with the organization when new ownership finally steps in. Even if he gets off to a bad spring training, Guzman will start the season at short. He'll be given every opportunity to turn things around from last year. We believe he'll bounce back with a good season, but if the calendar turns to May and he's still making like '05, and the 80 year old Clayton is on the roster, then yeah, sure, Robinson will probably switch things up.
Does general manager Jim Bowden realize that what the Nationals really need right now is a starting pitcher? He's busy trying to sign Sammy Sosa and Clayton, but last I checked, neither of those guys can pitch. We already have a glut of outfielders fighting for playing time.
-- W.E., Arlington, Va.
We put in a call to Bowden himself to ask him if he realizes that what the Nationals need is starting pitching help, but we got his voicemail. He never called back.
What role, if any, will right-hander Darrell Rasner play in Washington in 2006?
-- B.S., Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Rasner will be in the starting rotation by June.
I looked on the World Baseball Classic roster for the Dominican team and it has Sosa on it. So how does that affect his chances of signing with the Nationals?
-- T.M., Kissimmee, Fla.
Sosa won't risk stinking it up at the WBC - a bad showing would effectively punch his ticket to Japan.
Who do you think is the franchise player of the Nationals? -- J.S., Washington
Bowden would tell you Zimmerman, but we'd like to see him play a full season somewhere before making that judgment. Instead, we put the names of everyone on the Nats' 40-man roster into a hat and picked at random. And the answer is...Jamey Carroll!
If they make the final roster, would Jose Vidro or Jose Guillen participate in the World Baseball Classic? -- D.C., Nova Scotia, Canada
No, and no. And enough of the World Baseball Classic questions! Is someone planting these things?
Are the Nationals going to get any more catchers? I know Brian Schneider is fantastic, but what if he gets hurt? -- I.J., Washington
Robert Fick will be fine to give Schneider a day off every now and then, but we agree with your sentiment: a real live backup catcher would be good to have in the event that Schneider gets hurt or something.
(all questions taken from The Washington Nationals Official Website; please don't sue us. Thank you)