Spring Training is almost here, blah blah blah. Duty calls: it's time for the latest edition of the Nationals.com Mailbag. 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 do you think about the Nationals not offering Frank Robinson any kind of paying job with the team?
-- David B., Vienna, Va.
I'm surprised. I think it's a load of crap. But you know what? After thinking it over for a few days, I'm starting to think that it's less Kasten and more Selig that owes Frank a job.
With the signings of Jerome Williams and Brandon Claussen, I was wondering how you think the rotation now looks?
-- Mike H., Washington, D.C.
As bad if not worse than the rotation looked on the last day of the 2006 season.
What is the Nationals' backup plan if shortstop Cristian Guzman is indeed washed up?
-- Collin L., Alexandria, Va.
What is the status of Luis Ayala? Could he potentially close if Chad Cordero is dealt?
-- Derek C., Ottawa, Canada
I'll defer to Bill Ladson on this one (probably a spot-on assessment).
Since Tim Raines will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year, do you think he will get into the Hall of Fame quicker than Andre Dawson?
-- James U., Glendale, Calif.
Forget Raines and Dawson, when will Herm Winningham be on the HOF ballot?
Going into Spring Training, who do you think is going to be the biggest surprise?
-- Ross B., Highland, Ill.
Guzman is going to be the biggest surprise, returning to his banjo-hitting, no-OBP, pre-2005 form. Let's hope so, Acta has him penciled in as the #2 hitter! God help us...
I hear all this talk of pitchers being traded and looked at, but what about the Nationals' offense. It was terrible last year.
-- Jeff C., Chevy Chase, Md.
I can't believe we're 2/3 of the way through the Mailbag this week and we haven't had even ONE tear-streaked letter lamenting the lack of respect the Nationals have shown Ryan Church. Jeez, after last week's Church cry-fest, I thought for sure we were in for more of the same this week. Nope. Not a one. Anyway, what was your question, Jeff?
I noted that your banner headline on nationals.com involved Dawson. Like most Washington fans, I never followed the Expos and thought at first that he was some new acquisition for the Nats. How long will we be burdened with Expos history, which is irrelevant to today's Nats and their fans?
-- Woody S., Orlando, Fla.
Go f*ck yourself, Woody. This might be the dumbest question in a Mailbag ever, and amazingly enough it doesn't even involve the Soriano-Wilkerson trade or Ryan Church. You can't possibly be serious. AND -- You're from Florida...it figures...
With Jose Vidro traded and Robinson gone, do you feel the Nationals have any strong remaining ties to their Expos roots?
-- Chris B., Jericho, Vt.
Not really, unless you count Brad Wilkerson, and they traded him. And unfortunately, MLB left Youppi drunk and disorderly somewhere on St. Catherine Street in Montreal when they moved the Expos to Washington -- we hear he's selling pretzels now for the Montreal Canadians.