Who needs the Hot Stove in Washington when it's a balmy 70 degrees outside AND when we've got The Plan! With the Holiday season in full swing, our gift to you is a another bastardization of the Nationals.com Mail Bag. For the uninitiated, here's how it works: Fans email their question to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson at MLB.com. We copy and paste the questions over here. We answer the questions.
As always, keep those e-mails coming to Nationals.com, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
What's your take on manager Manny Acta reaching out to Ryan Church? It sure doesn't sound like he wants Church traded, nor does it sound like Church will be a backup outfielder.
-- Teresa E., Washington, D.C.
As sure a sign as any that the 2007 Nats will be one of the worst teams in recent memory: We're still talking about Ryan Church.
I don't know why you are amazed about the overwhelming support for Church, one of the best but most mishandled players on the team. It will be to his benefit to be traded from a team that doesn't respect him, don't you think?
-- Earl B., Sebring, Fla.
As sure a sign as any that the 2007 Nats will be one of the worst team in recent memory: We're still talking about Ryan Church and r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
I'm hardly against Church, and I hope he does turn into a great ballplayer. However, something just doesn't seem right with him. I just thought that some of us agree with you as well.
-- Jonny N., Falls Church, Va.
Uh...ok, Jonny, that's great, thanks...I think it's the drugs.
I don't understand all of this support for Church. Yes, he has shown some bright spots with the bat, but he can't hit breaking balls on the outside of the plate. I saw him strike out multiple times on two-strike breaking balls in the dirt last year, and he isn't anything special with the glove. I feel left field should belong to Kory Casto.
-- Aaron B., Alexandria, Va.
Casto will get plenty of playing time this year for the N-AAA-tionals. Relax, okay? Ryan Church is the least of your worries (hint: look at the potential starting rotation).
It seems that Nationals fans have been divided into two camps -- the "pro-planners" and the "anti-planners." The pro-planners are satisfied with the Nationals' efforts to date, whereas the "anti-planners" believe that the team can restock the farm system while signing free agents for the here and now. Do you believe that the Nationals should split their resources and attempt to build for today as well as tomorrow?
-- Farid R., Pocatello, Id.
Hey it's Farid! The Beltway Boy himself! I'm a reluctant pro-planner. As a paying customer, I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea that the team has already thrown in the towel on 2007 and we all have to, as Joey Eischen might say, suck on it and like it. It's gonna get ugly around here, but I'm willing to be patient...
Will Acta be as generous and patient as Frank Robinson was with Cristian Guzman if Guzman has another rough year at the plate?
-- Matt D., Montreal
Let's hope not.
What role, if any, do you expect Robinson to be offered in the Nationals organization?
-- Tim M., Annandale, Va.
Ha, ha. Yeah, right.
In the last mailbag, you gave us your prediction on the starting rotation. How about your prediction on who will be in the bullpen?
-- Josh G., Oklahoma
Not the Chief.
Lately, in several of your mailbags, you have been answering questions about the Nationals' starting rotation. What are your thoughts about Beltran Perez being in the rotation?
-- Ryan S., Millersville, Md.
It's gonna be great, it really is. Counting down the days to the inevitable news that gutless Tony Armas has been resigned to a one year deal...
What, if any, do the Nationals have as far as left-handed relievers go?
-- Jeff G., Lancaster, Pa.
Let's see...there's Micah Bowie. And Mike Stanton should be signed any day now... It's gonna be great, it really is.
My daughter, who is a Nationals fan, asked me a question and I didn't have an answer: Who was the highest-paid player on the team last year?
-- Mackenzie P., Washington, D.C.
That guy the Cubs overpayed for.
I read that the Nats are looking for backup middle infielders, so why on earth won't they consider giving Rick Short another shot? All the guy did when he was up last time was hit.
-- Andrew S., Leesburg, Va.
Rick Short. As sure a sign as any that the 2007 Nats will be one of the worst team in recent memory: We're actually talking about Rick Short.