"Fun" is probably the last word you'd use to describe this oft-painful season, but man oh man has it been fun around here the last few days. Comebacks! A near no-no! A 5 game winning streak! And since we're on the topic of
painful fun things, The Nationals Enquirer has decided once again to answer the latest installment of the Nationals dot com Mail Bag! The correct answers are available on Nationals.com; now we'll give it a shot.
Keep those e-mails coming to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
Do you think trading Daryle Ward to the Braves was a good move? He was the best bench player of the team.
-- A.C., Montreal
Yes. We're talking about moving a 31 year old bench guy (even if he IS the best bench player on a crappy team) for a 21-year old kid (Luis Atilano) who had to have his elbow rebuilt a few weeks ago. I gamble on the kid, every time.
I thought the knock on Bernie Castro was that he had no glove. He made several slick plays at second against the Phillies.
-- R.L.W., Washington, D.C.
It's called the Vidro Effect. You've become so numbed by Vidro's lack of range that you could put a bronze statue of Jamey Carroll out at 2nd base and you'd start noticing an upgrade.
Do you think shortstop Felipe Lopez has measured up defensively?
-- P.B., Fairfax Station, Va.
Absolutely: Felip-E has measured up to his billing as a fairly bad defensive SS.
In your opinion, how did the farm system get so bad? It wasn't so long ago when people used to talk about the depth and talent the farm system contained.
-- M.M., Winooski, Vt.
Winooski? Anyway, yeah, blah blah blah, the Expos were slowly bled dry by the rest of baseball, and Bud let it all happen. We move on.
Are the Nationals sincere in their efforts to sign Alfonso Soriano to a long-term deal?
-- R.S., Gaithersburg, Md.
*shrug* Probably. The Soriano thing is going to be all-consuming in the off season; but let's hope it's only all-consuming to Nationals fans, the media, etc. and not all-consuming to the front office -- because the Soriano question is just one of many, many big issues that need to be addressed by Bowden & Co. in the off season, such as a) pitching, b) pitching and c) pitching, just to name three. I hope they don't overpay for him. (Note: I don't know exactly what I mean by "overpay" in terms of a specific dollar amount over a specific number of years, but I'll know it when I see it. How's that for a cop-out?) Ultimately I think the Nationals will be outbid for his services; just hopefully not by the Orioles. That would be hard to swallow, but not nearly as hard to swallow as overpaying for him.
You cited a lack of leadership and accountability from the players as a reason why the team is in fifth place. At some point, doesn't manager Frank Robinson become accountable for the bad season?
-- J.H., Sterling, Va.
We can slice up the blame pie any way you like it, my friend -- and we'll do that in a post here at the end of the season. I'm sure there's a piece waiting for Frank, but I'm not sure how big that piece will be - probably just a tiny slice.