Hey, it's time to tear into another edition of the Nationals dot com mailbag! As always, keep those e-mails coming to Nationals.com, and we'll keep copying and pasting your questions and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
In last week's mailbag, a reader asked if general manager Jim Bowden is enamored with former Reds. Don't you think the real story is that Bowden is enamored with players he was responsible for bringing to the team? Ryan Church was a member of the Expos, so he doesn't get the love because Bowden doesn't get any credit for bringing him to the team. Not saying that Bowden doesn't have an eye for talent, just that he favors players who will make him look good in the eyes of the media and the ownership group.
-- S.P., North Beach, Md.
Woah there, you covered two of the most tired Nationals story lines in one pop! Impressive. There was a question in there somewhere, but I must've dozed off. Can you repeat the question?
The only change Church needs is in the attitude of the GM. If he's another Paul O'Neill, we shouldn't let Bowden mess it up again. You're too easy on the GM.
-- B.N., Washington, D.C.
And you're an a-hole. How's that?
Chad Cordero had a good number of saves this year, but how he earned them were scary. Is there hope for improvement next year, or do we need to start looking for a new closer?
-- K.A., Chantilly, Va.
Time to start looking for a new closer...and his name is Eric Gagne!
Is Joel Hanrahan in the Nationals' plans in 2008?
-- R.B, Gainesville, Fla.
Gosh, I hope not!
What are the biggest goals for the Nats before they have a good chance at the playoffs?
-- E.W., Woodbridge, Va.
Biggest goals? Hard for us to say. Did you ever think the Rockies had even a remote chance at the playoffs this season? Did anyone? If we're talking about building a perennial playoff entrant, I guess it all starts down on the farm. In the short term, I'd really like to see them try to sign one of the old farts (Livo, Glavine, Schilling, etc.) this offseason to anchor the rotation and pass along some ancient wisdom to the kids. On Sunday, Ken Davidoff of NY Newsday called Washington "one of the three most likely landing points for Tom Glavine", behind Atlanta and Atlanta (no, that's not a typo). Schilling's looking for a one year deal; filed for free agency today. I don't think that answers your question.
Do you think the Nationals will try to sign Andruw Jones?
-- C.G., Birmingham, Ala.
I read the article about Bonneville International Corporation retaining the Nats' broadcast rights. Is there really some chance that Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler won't be back? Say it ain't so, Bill. Slowes and Jageler are the very best in all of baseball, and to lose them would be tragic. The Nats should pay Charlie and Dave whatever they need to stay.
-- W.S., Orlando, Fla.
We're with you on that. We love Chuck and Dave.
With all the players outrighted to Columbus and opting for free agency, I was most surprised about Tony Batista. He was a better pinch-hitter than Robert Fick. Although Batista doesn't play as many positions as Fick, I don't think that Nats need the versatility next year.
-- L.W., Washington, DC
You know your team really stinks when you're left debating the merits of Tony Batista vs. Robert Fick. Oh well.
Could you envision A-Rod at shortstop for the Nationals?
-- B.W., Ocean City, Md.
Yes. I could also envision cats and dogs living in perfect harmony and a snowball fight in hell.
(Photo of TV screen taken by The Nationals Enquirer)