With the rotation picture clearing up, Sean Hill emerging as a #2, the roster being slashed daily, and Opening Day less than two weeks away, it's time to open up the latest edition of the Nationals.com mailbag! You know the drill: 1. Fans email their questions to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson at MLB.com. 2. We copy and paste the questions over here. 3. Answers happen.
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.
I was just wondering about your thoughts on Snelling, especially since he's looking productive this spring and leading the Nats in RBIs. It's been eluded that he won't be a starter, but he is outperforming Ryan Church to date. Any chance that manager Manny Acta will have a change of heart?
-- Scott B., Washington, D.C.
I'm a little confused regarding the direction Bowden is looking toward first base. I was under the impression new ownership was focusing on youth and promoting from within. Why, then, are two players -- Travis Lee and Dmitri Young -- being considered when it will cost the team at least twice as much to sign them, as opposed to Larry Broadway, who's making the minimum salary?
-- Angela D., New Orleans
The money part aside, I'm a little confused about it, too, Angela. Nick Johnson's slow recovery opened up the perfect opportunity to see if Broadway was Plan-Worthy. But I guess it's more important to see if Dmitri Young has another year left in his bat?
In the normal course of Spring Training, how much thought is given to trading a player who belongs in the bigs but cannot find a spot? It seems to me that if Casto shows that he belongs in the big leagues, but can't break in at third, first or the outfield, why doesn't Bowden do him a favor and try to trade him in exchange for a proven lefty tarter?
-- David W., Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
What's a lefty tarter?
What is your opinion of pitch counts? Do you believe they are overrated? I remember left-hander Wilbur Wood starting both ends of a doubleheader in the 1970s and nobody had as many arm problems then as they do now.
-- Mike Z., Utica, N.Y.
Yeah, but where are most of those guys who were pitching back then? That's right, they're either retired or dead. And Wilbur Wood was a knuckleballer, so he shouldn't be included in the discussion.
I'm very excited about the way many of the Nationals prospects are performing in Spring Training. Who, in your opinion, has been the most pleasant surprise?
-- Michael S., Washington, D.C.
With Casto doing very well with the bat, do you think he'll make the Opening Day roster?
-- Craig G., Chester Gap, Va.
No. Our sources tell us his locker will be right next to Larry Broadway's in Columbus.
Comments from Nationals' fans:
I know many Nats fans are already down on Cristian Guzman, but I would like to remind them that this looks like a healthy Guzman for the first time in three years. Although he is not the offensive stud that Miguel Tejada is, Guzman is one of the strongest defensive shortstops in the league. In addition, he has a great make up for an 8-hole hitter who can drive in runs at the bottom of the order. Give him a chance.
-- Dean C., Charlottesville, Va.
Congratulations, Dean: that's the first time Cristian Guzman and Miguel Tejada have ever appeared in the same sentence together, and it'll probably be the last. But yeah, I agree with your sentiments: I'm willing to go easy on Guzman -- for the first week of the season, anyway.
I know you must be getting tired of talking about Church. I feel that he has proved that he does not belong on the Nationals' big-league roster. He is not hitting. I say they should cut him and give a Minor League player a chance in the bigs.
-- Jason H., Rockwood, Tenn.
Let's not go crazy here, Jason. Church will be a perfectly capable fourth outfielder.