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What will Nats get from left field?

Feb 1, 2011, 4:28 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Michael Morse will join Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel in left field in 2011.

The Nationals were willing to trade Josh Willingham earlier this winter not only because of what they got in return from the Oakland A's (reliever Henry Rodriguez and minor-league outfielder Corey Brown) but also because of what they believe they can still get out of their left fielders in 2011.

At first glance, it sounds a bit preposterous to suggest Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse and/or Rick Ankiel are going to produce as much at the plate as Willingham did. But truth is, that consortium probably will come close to, if not exceed, the production of its predecessor.

Actually, a more accurate way to put it is like this: The Nationals are likely to get comparable offensive production out of their left fielders this year as they did last year. That's because Willingham, while certainly productive when he was in the lineup, wasn't in the lineup the entire season.

Despite his remarkably consistent numbers over the years — a batting average in the .260s, 20-25 homers, an OBP in the .360s and an OPS in the .840s — Willingham has also been remarkably consistent in hisRead more ยป

  1. Not Werth It - Feb 1, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Replacing the Hammer's production over the whole season won't be too tough, but the problem will be duplicating his near all-star worthy first half. The Nats actually won a few games when the Hammer was raking (and then shushing his kids while wearing the silver elvis wig, adorable) and it's going to take that kind of production out of someone not named Zim or Werthless for the Nats bats to take a step forward this year. I really hope Berny and Morse can get it Dunn.(Another reason for the bit of first half success the Nats enjoyed year was Pudge. Remember how he led the league in average for a while? Doubt that happens again.)

  2. g - Feb 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Good story and agreed on Michael and Roger, but I doubt Ankiel will factor much and might not even last the season…I'm not seeing a renaissance for him in my crystal balls…also, two sharing the position could get enough playing time to be consistent.

  3. Les in NC - Feb 1, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    In truth, Willingham's ability to get on base by taking a walk, won't be missed a great deal by this team. The ability itself is a good thing for hitters to have, but with last years team he rarely had decent hitters hitting behind him, and drawing a walk behind Dunn's strikeout, or to lead of an inning (because Dunn couldn't hit with 2 outs) and then have Pudge's GIDP was anything but ideal. IMO, this years left field platoon will be better off because of the defense, and hopefully, because of better hitters throughout the lineup and on the bench.

  4. Theophilus - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    I have doubts — at about the 30 percent level — about Ankiel making the team out of ST (although I think he has skills and would love to see him hit 20 HR and 60 RBI). First, Hairston is available if a 5th outfielder is needed. Two, two LH hitters in a platoon is one too many, unless one is a threatening bat off the bench, and Ankiel is not. Just as likely as not (more likely than the 20/60 scenario), he's a K kneeling in the on-deck circle. Rizzo, et al, could just as easily decide that to be a dangerous team — not necessarily a contender — they need Stairs lurking in the dugout. Third, the Nats have to figure that this is the year — as last year was w/ Maxwell — to find out if Corey Brown has stripes or is going to be a washout. If there's an emergency, he's available.The scenario in which Ankiel is pretty much guaranteed to make the team is if/when Morgan continues to rain on his own parade in ST. Then (A) Bernandina moves to CF or (2) Werth and Morgan split CF and Ankiel shares RF w/ Werth. In the middle of these possibilities is Ankiel sticking and Riggleman making the mistake he made w/ the middle infield last year of trying to find at bats for everybody (Hairston included). (Keeping Stairs does not present this problem.) Together the numbers might add up to Willingham Vers. 2010 but not the performance you'd hope for from one of the power spots in the lineup.

  5. Not Werth It - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Mark, are we still waiting for one more subtraction from the 40 man or am I mistaken? Seems like it's been a while.

  6. waddu eye no - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    hoping that competition between morse and bernie can get them both into a groove. always hoping….

  7. Theophilus - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Looking back at Mark's post, and particularly about "if one player gets particularly hot at the plate," both Bernandina and Ankiel are streak hitters (not that Willingham wasn't) and it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that both would be cold at the same time and over two weeks go 0-for-36.

  8. Frank Howard - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Nothing Rizzo does should be questioned. The three-headed monster in left-field will hit 30 home runs, drive in 100 runs, have a .350 On Base Percentage and lead the Nats to a first place finish.

  9. Anonymous8 - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Agreed that overall the LF position will do better but that hot April/May of Willingham will be tough to replicate.I want to see Michael Morse get a legitimate chance to play more. My only concern on Morse is that when he gets into a groove with good power it is followed by an ugly slump as he starts trying to hit the 500 foot HRs with a long swing and starts to look AAA out there and lost at the plate.Last year I compared Morse to possibly a Jayson Werth and hoping he learns under Werth. Both late bloomers and similar in size and shape.GO MORSE!!!!

  10. Anonymous - Feb 1, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Mark,I think it's a little misleading to say that Bernadina+Morse=2010Willingham. It's more accurate to say 2010Morse-2010Bernadina=Willingham. Morse's SLG was 60 points better than Willingham, while Bernadina with 50% more PA slugged a paltry .384. To me, the biggest problem whether they can match the OPS – it's the SLG and particularly the HR that matter. Rizzo's overhaul of the roster traded an awful lot of thump (Willingham/Dunn) for a more defensively-minded lineup. Werth, if he can match his CitizenBank fueled numbers can help that, but in order for this to work, they need to get more slugging out of the other spots in the lineup, especially from the LF position – which is one of the traditional spots to hide a weak glove in order to get a strong bat. I'd be interested in your take on where they replace the slugging from.I guess that's my biggest concern about this "Bernadina's best position is LF" thing – maybe that's his best defensive position, but his career slash stats so far say either he plays CF, or he's a liability as a starter. His SLG in MLB so far is the same as it was in MiLB, which is <400 – simply not enough to be an everyday LF. In some ways, his skillset (note: skillset, not attitude) reminds me of Milledge – not really enough speed/glove to be an above-average CF, not really enough pop to be an above-average LF, probably best used as a 4th OF on a decent team. The Nats, even improved defensively, can't really absorb 300+ ABs of a 691 OPS out of their starting LF, especially since they're not going to get much more than 800 OPS out of Glovey McCatchEmAll over at 1b. I guess my bottom line is that the platoon could work, if it's mostly Morse – Ankiel's SLG isn't exactly great shakes either – bounceback or no bounceback, it's a little hard to see him as the 500+ SLG player he was in '08.

  11. A Boone - Feb 1, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Ankiel isn't going to pan out and will be gone by the All Star break. Bernadina is mediocre. Morse will struggle when he is overexposed. When Werth bats down to his Dodger level, say, .260 18 homers and 70 RBIs, the left-fielders will suffer as will Zimmerman, Desmond and LaRoche. The Nats offense will decline this season and Riggleman will be selling apples at 16th and K by late summer.Meanwhile, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham will be enjoying pennant runs in September.

  12. Not Werth It - Feb 1, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    I disagree. While I hope Ankiel is out of here before opening day (I totally agree that we need a capable bench bat in Stairs more than another outfielder), I think someone out of Werthless, Morse, Bernadina, and Danny wildcard Espinosa will hit well enough to protect Des, Zim, and LaRoche.Losing Dunn hurts but I think we'll make up for it with a much better hitting bench and either Desmond or Espinosa getting hot at the plate.

  13. Steve M. - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Also, a Morse fan and like what Bernadina showed at times. Consistency is what I am looking for from those guys.I think Pudge will start hot like last year before he gets over-worked again and with a few nice surprises this team could start off well.From last year's 20-15 start, the team then exposed its weaknesses with the horrible defense and lack of offense from guys like Nyjer in the leadoff and when Pudge went ice cold. With some depth, this team can hopefully get on some winning streaks.The Phillies and Braves will be tough, but this team has to pick up more wins against the Mets and especially the Marlins in order to have a good year.

  14. Jeeves - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Over the last three years, Willingham has averaged 59 RBI's, 56 runs, with a 260 batting average. Of course, that's largely due to injury–but isn't that the point. He might be enjoying a pennant run in September, but only if he lasts that long.Bernadina's minor league history is not one of inconsistency. Before last year's major league season, he missed a year of baseball. That might account for his wearing down as the season wore on in 2010. I'm expecting a good year in 2011 for this ballplayer.

  15. Sec314 - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    I'm a heck of lot less worried about Left Field than Center Field.

  16. JD - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    The point is that we are keeping the position warm for Harper; we have to scuffle there for 2 more years. We can't make a long term investment on a FA knowing that we have the solution in house. Yes; we may very well be below average in LF in 2011 and 2012 but the available dollars should be spent elsewhere.

  17. DFL - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Remember that Willingham's average total RBIs is brought down by his being misused by the Manny Acta and Mike Rizzo in 2009. Adam Dunn was in left, Elijah "Dog" Dukes was in right, Limpin' Nick Johnson was at first and Willingham was on the bench for roughly the first half of 2009.

  18. MGG - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I feel a lot better about LF then I do CF, SS, and the starting rotation. I like Desmond but unless he brings down his error total I just can't seem him being the everyday starter. Also I don't know whether or not we have a replacement for Desmond in the farm system which has me worried.Overall I'm very happy with the off season has gone and can't wait to see them win some games this year.

  19. H Mubarak - Feb 1, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    JD, who plays right, Werth or Harper in 2012? If Nyjer Morgan or Corey Brown fail in center in 2011, does either Werth or Harper play center? If Morgan or Brown succeed in center, who plays left, Harper or Werth?

  20. Sunderland - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    I'm not at all a fan of keeping Stairs and I can't imagine a quality NL team with a 42 year old who can't play defense and is more likely to strike out (31% the past two years) than get a base hit (.213 the last two years). Don't point to his OBP, OBP from a "power bat off the bench" is worthless. Whatchagonna do. Sit your pitcher, watch Stairs take a walk and the replace him with Ankiel on the basepaths? The market for Stairs was so underwhelming, he took a minor league deal to come here. What does that mean? Not a single other team, AL or NL, was willing to guarantee him a major league contract. Keeping Stairs will be foolish and show we've made less progress than we believe.Problem with a Bernadina / Morse platoon is Riggs will play Bernie against righties (70% of the time?) and Morse against lefties (30% of the time?). Morse against lefties is a no brainer. But last year, Morse outhit Bernadina in every way against righties too. If this platoon is going to work, Bernadina needs to show real improvement this year (Weird, all of Bernie's stats in 2010 are better against lefties than righties).Sec314, right on.

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    We have a replacement for Desmond. He just happens to be our second baseman. And I don't have any problems with our outfield, once Nyjer Morgan is removed from the equation. And I'll take the problem of where to put Bryce Harper and Jason Werth any day. Please, bring that problem on!

  22. Harper_ROY_2012 - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Historically, platoons do not improve your team, I think it is ok to start out with a platoon but when push comes to shove, riggleman will have to make a decision to play 1 LF everyday and sub the other guys into the OF only to rest another OF. Unfortunately, until we get rid of Nyjer and bring up Bryce the OF will be unstable exept for Werth. Ideally the OF looks something like this someday soon….LF Morse, CF Harper, RF Werth, 4th OF Corey Brown

  23. BinM - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    @H Mubarak: In terms of corner OF positions, it could come down to two things – Who has the better range, and who has the better arm? Range & arm win-out in RF, with the lesser player moving to LF in most cases. The most likely scenario is when Harper comes up to stay, either he or Werth will go to LF, imo. There is the outside chance that Werth goes to CF for a year or two, with Harper in RF as well.

  24. BinM - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    @NatsJack: I'll agree that Desmond is sketchy at ss, and his logical replacement is Espinosa, but I'm willing to let Spring Training play out. If he still looks 'iffy' at the position by mid-March, there are some variables in play. Maybe the team tries to kill two birds with one stone – Shift Espinosa to SS, Desmond to CF, & turns Morgan/Ankiel & Gonzalez/Hairston for a 2B in a trade; Maybe they switch Espinosa & Desmond's positions, with Hairston as a 'last-resort' option at 2B; Maybe they do nothing with the IF alignment until after the season starts. Who knows? That's why they play the games.

  25. Steve M. - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    JD said… The point is that we are keeping the position warm for Harper; we have to scuffle there for 2 more years. I think it is June 2012 for Bryce if the 2011 Minor League production is as good as or better than the AFL which it should be. Some say the AFL is AA and AAA stars, then I would expect Bryce Harper to be in A ball for 2 months and spend the rest of the year crushing it in AA just like he was doing in Arizona Fall League but of course playing every day.Sure, I am getting ahead of myself but like I said before, I am a dreamer and a "homer".This 2011 roster is the first one where they can move forward with a good team and the weak points will surface.Guys like Nyjer can no longer hide within the mediocrity because before there is no viable replacement so changes were less efficient. Now Rizzo and Riggleman have some options.Rizzo has to be swift and decisive for pieces that are not the future and be patient with the pieces that can improve with time.I am not so quick to throw Desmond under the bus like so many, but this is his make or break year and I hope he makes it. With Espi at 2nd and LaRoche at 1st he should look much more comfortable and confident out there and hopefully pay back Rizzo/Riggleman for their trust in him.

  26. Sunderland - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    While I'd love to see Desmond have played CF in winter ball, there's no way the Nats give up on him this season as their SS. At least not with Riggs managing. He's overly concerned about players psyches and doing anything that could conceivably disrespect a player or acknowledge a weakness with a player.He protected Nyjer way too much last year. By doing so, he disrespected every other guy wearing the curly-W. Ah well.

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    That was primarily a response to MGG. I really don't see Desmond going anywhere unless he gets hurt. He'll start the season as our regular ss and really have to suck to lose his job. I don't believe we'll see an improved Desmond but if he learns to contain himself on some of the balls he gets to instead of trying to make the miraculous play, that alone should help. He does get to more balls than the average ss.

  28. RIP_ Les_Expos - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    I just heard that the Phillies are not going to resign Chad Durbin….let's bring the prodigal son home and add him to the bullpen!

  29. N. Cognito - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Harper_ROY_2012 said… "Historically, platoons do not improve your team"That's because platoons usually involve two guys who suck as everyday players.

  30. DFL - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Desmond is either going to make it in Washington as a shortstop of he will be traded. Call me an optimist, but I am of the mind that he'll cut his errors down to 20-25 a season and be the Nats everyday shortstop for years to come.

  31. Theophilus - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Disagree strongly re: platoons. Good platoons put a good if somewhat specialized player on the field everyday. The Yankees of the late '50s and early '60s were probably the first team to platoon systematically. The Orioles in their heyday regularly platooned (that is not an oxymoron). Not to say Morse and Bernadina are Roenicke and Lowenstein but, playing consistently at their best, they would be formidable. It's the consistency that's in doubt.

  32. Anonymous - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    "At least not with Riggs managing. He's overly concerned about players psyches and doing anything that could conceivably disrespect a player or acknowledge a weakness with a player."So this is why he put Guzman in right field?

  33. BinM - Feb 1, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    @DFL: I'd optimistically hope Desmond would be in the 22-26 error range this year at SS, but that is probably going to be near his best defensively, imo. He's entering his peak years as a player, but has never shown the 'soft-hands' & natural glovework you'd normally want to see in a SS; Just look at his minor-league fielding numbers. It's probably a "make-or-break" year for him as a SS; He may be better suited as a 2B-CF in the long run, but I'd hate to see him traded to realize that my two-cents worth of opinion was right.

  34. Tim - Feb 1, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    I thought Desi got better in the 2nd half last season as he got used to playing at the MLB level. Am I wrong?

  35. JayB - Feb 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Wrong…the fundamental problem is still there….he has rock hands and he sits back on his heals on routine balls….lets the ball play him rather than charging in even just a bit…..after 8 yeas as a pro and several thousands of innings if he was going to "get it"…he would have by now.

  36. Avar - Feb 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Mark,Somewhat off topic. Where do you find stats by position for a team like you quote? For example, Nats left fielders hit .248 with 24 homers, 80 RBI, a .352 OBP and a .788 OPS.Anyone?

  37. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 1, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    To answer a couple of questions (one from earlier, one from just now)…The Nats do have to clear one more spot on the 40-man roster. Tom Gorzelanny's trade has not been processed by MLB yet, so once that happens (probably any day now) they'll need to drop another name off the 40-man.For Avar: You can find stats-by-position (and all sorts of other statistical goodies) at baseball-reference.com. Here's the direct link to the page that lists offensive stats by position from last season: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/split.cgi?t=b&team=WSN&year=2010

  38. Avar - Feb 1, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Thank you Mark! I'm on BR all the time but couldn't find that. Thanks again. Now I know how to spend my evening.

  39. JayB - Feb 1, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Mark,Seems like a really long lag at the MLB office…..reasons? My guess as I posted before is something to do with the Arb process and signing took place after the trade…are at least someone is claiming that…….

  40. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    JayB, it's the offseason. Lots of teams making trades and signing FAs. Much more than during the regular season. Stands to reason that there would be delays in the league office processing paperwork. No need to hire additional staff to process the backlog, either. There's no rush, because no games are being played now, not even any workouts. It will all get sorted out in due time. If you weren't such an idiot you'd have figured that out yourself, without having to badger Mark about it.

  41. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    the rest of the year crushing it in AA just like he was doing in Arizona Fall League but of course playing every day.If he really is as good as the scouts and pundits say … as Nats fans hope. I expect he will hit well against AA this year, toward the end. Then totally demolish AA pitching next year. Riggleman is right when he stated that was when you start thinking 25 man active. No reason to make him do a lot of AAA unless there is someone/something there to teach him. Why rush him? Next year Strasburg's innings will be limited and he will be on a tight leash. Maybe they get into the Pujols sweepstakes? If they did that could rapidly change the whole complexion of the franchise.

  42. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    "Roenicke and Lowenstein … "Or Rettenmund and Buford …

  43. Anonymous8 - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    Anon @ 9:32, not sure how much Strasburg will be limited in 2012. When Chris Carpenter came back in Sept of 2008 after his TJ and pitched 15 innings, he pitched 192 innings in 2009 and 235 in 2010.

  44. g - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    @Frank Howard…touche!

  45. g - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:00 AM

    @A Boone…well said, hilarious and all possible!

  46. N. Cognito - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    Anonymous @ 8:17PM said… "JayB…If you weren't such an idiot you'd have figured that out yourself, without having to badger Mark about it."There are enough opportunities to call out JayB. That one was unnecessary.

  47. John C. - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    @N. Cognito: Way to stick up for our brother JayB. I've disagreed with JayB a bunch of times, but (a) I've kinda wondered about the bonus roster slot myself; and (b) the personal attack was bad form. Anonymous abuse on the internet – be better than that.

  48. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    Anon @ 9:32, not sure how much Strasburg will be limited in 2012. When Chris Carpenter came back in Sept of 2008 after his TJ and pitched 15 innings, he pitched 192 innings in 2009 and 235 in 2010.Strasburg is an upper echelon power pitcher. He has never thrown 200 innings as Chris Carpenter did. He has never even throw 100 yet. Even the great Walter Johnson experienced injury problems when he was first thrown in, sink or swim, into a major league rotation. Really didn't steady out until 3 years in. Strasburg is a baseball National Treasure and Rizzo et al know it. He will have his innings limited. He will be allowed to ramp up at what McCatty (who knows what is like to burn out an arm) and others deem reasonable. This will happen and you can take it to the bank. Its one of the few advantages to being a rebuilding team versus a Cubs team in competition with crazy guggenheim at the controls.

  49. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:06 AM

    If Morse manages to hit 20 home runs before the all-star break (that's if Riggles doesn't become to enamored with Ankiel) does he then get to start every game? That would be Dunn territory.

  50. Dan H - Feb 2, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    I do not think it likely that either Morse or Bernardina are part of the long-term solutions to the Nationals' everyday lineup needs. That said, Morse offered intriguing hints of being a hitter in search of a position last year and Bernardina has shown flashes of brilliance in the field. Despite some adequate minor league numbers at the plate, I just don't see Bernardina projecting as a major league left fielder. Nor do I see Morgan as a major league center fielder. Bernardina may not be able to handle center but it still makes sense to me to test him in center or give Morse a sustained audition in left. Neither may pan out, but if at least one did, it might either complete the outfield or provide a trade asset or two for 2012 if the arrival of Harper proved near.

  51. CapPeterson - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Historical note on platooning…Stengel learned it from his NY Giants' manager in the 1920s, John McGraw. McGraw was platooning future HoFer Bill Terry (then just starting his career) in the 1924 WS vs. the Senators.

  52. JD - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    I understand fans want to see Harper up quickly but even when he did well in the AFL (very small sample) he was still flailing away at off speed pitches away from him; he has tons of work to do in pitch recognition, working the count etc. When people say things like 'totally demolish AA pitching next year' I cringe because it's not going to happen and people will panic; it's just not that easy and it takes time; you bring him up too soon and MLB pitchers will eat him alive with breaking stuff low and away. Be patient; Harper's time will come.

  53. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Good call JD. When Bryce first saw Fall Instructional League pitching, he initially was over matched, even on fastballs. But he adjusted and by the end of their schedule he was only having trouble on GOOD off speed stuff which he will see alot of once he hits AA ball.

  54. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    2012 Opening Day LineupSSDesmondRFHarper3BZimmerman1BPujolsCFWerth2BEspinosaLFBernadinaCARamosSPStrasburg

  55. Steve M. - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Anon at 9:34, I am laughing my tush off. No way will the Nats get Pujols. Pujols may be one of the greatest players we have seen but his demands are ludicrous. If you follow back to the early days of Pujols Draft year the rub was he was lying about his age. It was never proven but what if instead of being 31 he really is 34? You will get 3 to 5 years of good production and then he will drain the team's treasury for the rest of the 10 years he and Lozano are seeking. I think the Cardinals know it and many other teams and the Yankees are the only team that can probably afford to take that risk as it will take them past any current deals they have in place.I also don't see that as the Opening Day 2012 lineup as the Nats are smart enough to preserve Harper for 1 additional year by moving him past Super 2 and call him up in June 2012 at the earliest as someone will be a placeholder for Bryce Harper on Opening Day 2012.June 2012CF C. BrownSS Desmond3B Zim1B LaRocheRF WerthLF B. Harper2B EspinosaC RamosSP StrasburgOpening Day 2013CF Brown/Eury PerezSS DesmondLF Harper3B ZimmermanRF Werth1B Morse or TBD2B EspinosaC Ramos/NorrisSP Strasburg

  56. sparky - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    That lineup is full of flaws.1 – Pujols. Why do you even kid yourself? Really, that's not projecting, that's not even dreaming, that's fantasizing.2 – Harper. First, his call up will be delayed until June (at earliest) to slow the arbitration clock. Second, he's unlikely to be the guy to give himself up to advance the runner. Not a chance he bats #2.And of course with no Harper, Werth goes back to right field. If anyone from the minros breaks into the outfield, it will be Corey Brown, in CF.3 – I'd expect both caution from management on putting pressure on Strasburg and I'd also expect Stras and management would want to give the ball to a veteran out of respect. It's not crazy to think it could be Stras, but I doubt it.

  57. N. Cognito - Feb 2, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    There's nothing wrong with fantasizing about Pujols.Let me reword that.There's nothing wrong with hoping beyond all hopes that Pujols tests free agency and signs with the Nats.I know that's one of my fantasies.

  58. Hocus Pocus - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I know what the Rizzer should do. Sign Zimmerman for 3B. We gots Werth in RF. Harper will be the next Griffey Jr. by 2013 and in LF. Sign Gardner to a 3/$30 million for center. Sign Robinson Cano to a 8/$200 million for second. Norris will be the next Bench at catcher by 2013. Sign Pujols to 8/$300 million for first base. Move Espinosa to shortstop. Our lineup will be Gardner CF, Cano 2B, Pujols 1B, Harper LF, Werth RF, Norris C, Zimmerman 3B(demoted, sure, but this is the Rizzer Power Trillion Dollar Line-up for 2013) and Espinosa SS. Stairs will pinch hit. Trade Desmond for Halladay. Trade LaRoche, Bernadina, Ramos and Morse for Lee. Our starters will be Strasburg, Lee, Halladay, Zimmerman and Lannan. We'll win 125 games and gold plate Nats Stadium.

  59. Mark'd - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    I like SteveM's analysis which I guess Sparky agrees with but let's not kid ourselves and fill the comments with nonsense as Pujols only comes to Washington as a member of Congress in 2024 and you heard that here 1st.

  60. N. Cognito - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Nats announce their mini-plans, including a new, pick-your-own" plan:"Regular Season Mini Plans have just been released. Nationals fans can choose from 10, 13 and 14 game plans. For the first time, fans can also create their very own mini plan lineup of games with the all new 15 game Manager's Plan. Choose from among four exciting plans that each include games against the division rival Phillies, Braves & Mets, World Series champion Giants and Battle of the Beltways rival Orioles. Plans start as low as $90 and all plans include one FREE game.Four plans are on sale: 1. Manager's Plan – 15 games – pick your favorite games2. Pudge's Hall of Fame Plan – 14 games – includes Opening Day3. Sunday Fun-Day Plan – 13 games – all Sunday afternoon games4. Zim's Silver Slugger Plan – 10 games for the price of 9"Also, Red Carpet Rewards info should be out this weekend.

  61. sparky - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Hmmm. Guess now Rizzo can't trade or release Pudge even if he wanted to.

  62. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    FLop found a new home with a Minor League deal. Hard to imagine FLop and "Manny being Manny" in the same lineup. One head case is bad enough, but 2?http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2011/02/01/felipe-lopez-reported-minor-league-deal-with-rays-bad-news-for-sox/

  63. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    I'm Pumped… Just bought my 15 game package. See you on opening day ( and Saturday, too)!

  64. N. Cognito - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    I dislike Flop more than I dislike Mike Wise, and that's hard to do.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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