Back by popular demand! With the season grinding towards its final month, let's answer the latest edition of the Nationals.com mailbag. As usual, keep those e-mails coming to Nationals.com, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Here we go:
Why send Kory Casto to the Minor Leagues when more than half of the team is struggling? Let him figure it out like the rest of the players are doing.
-- Aaron P., Minneapolis
That's strange, I thought the entire Casto family lived in Oregon.
I read that the Nationals decided not to sign first-round Draft pick Aaron Crow over a difference of less than a $1 million. For a team that emphasizes building their farm system, isn't this move a bit hypocritical?
-- Pat R. Oakton, Va.
At this point, we've got almost nothing left to say about that little snot-nosed punk, his greedy agents, and the cheapskate owners who handcuffed the complete buffoon of a GM who handled the "negotiations" for the Nationals. (Jim, we're kidding, of course, we don't think you're a buffoon, we just liked the way it sounded). There's plenty of blame to go around, Pat. It's time to move on and hope the Lerner Family are prepared to grab their collective ankles and get comfortable over the next year with the idea that Scott Boras is about to show them what above-slot money means (assuming the Nats can hold on to Worst-Place and draft Strasburg, of course).
I really do feel for you. Any team that loses 12 straight games has more than just injury problems. The Nationals' manager -- Manny Acta -- can't play small ball and I don't like Jim Bowden. He reminds me a lot of Jim Beattie. Hang in there.
-- Scott S., Halifax, Va.
Woah there, Scott, you're all over the place. Thanks for caring; and you hang in there too.
The Rays have gone from worst to first with Joe Maddon's no-nonsense approach. Shouldn't the Nationals take note? Isn't a taskmaster needed?
-- John S., Alexandria, Va.
Ah yes, a variation on one of two themes which are sure to become increasingly popular in comparing the Rays and Nationals. Why do I get the feeling we'll be hearing a lot more of this sort of garbage as the playoffs get closer and the Rays are still in contention? Theme 1: The Rays have a lower payroll than the Nationals. See! If you think the Nationals need to spend money to win, you're a fool! Theme 2: The Rays have a no-nonsense manager! Manny is too soft! He needs to kick some of these sorry AAAA asses! Manny's the problem!
At this point in the season, on a scale from A-F, how would you rate the performance of Jesus Flores? Please rate his defense and offense.
-- Jason H., Rockwood, Tenn.
In no particular order: B+, B+.
Will Adam Dunn be headed for D.C.? We know Bowden loves Reds players he once drafted and traded for. The Nats need a huge power bat and Dunn could fill that void.
-- Chad B., Hitchins Ky.
No chance, for two reasons. First, because Dunn will be looking for a ridiculous contract in the offseason. Second: because once Jimbo gets canned at the end of the season, and Mike Rizzo takes over, the Nationals will only be interested in former Diamondbacks he drafted.
I really believe that Nick Johnson should call it quits. He has spent more time on the DL than in the field. At his age, things aren't going to get any better.
-- Jorge, Springfield, Va.
I'm sure Nick would appreciate your concern for his well-being. We'll pass along your suggestion.
Will the Nats re-sign Willie Harris? He's been extraordinarily useful and I also like his attitude.
-- Richard M., Lexington, Va.
He's been the MVP of the team this season, and now appears perfectly positioned to have the Nats sign him up for a Dmitri Young special: 2-year deal for too much money.
It doesn't take rocket science to determine that the Nats just can't hit. Is Lenny Harris the best hitting instructor available? Have the Nationals talked to Paul Molitor? He comes highly recommended -- 3,319 hits.
-- J.W., Springfield, Va.
Apparently, it does take rocket science.