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Beltway Baseball Live today at 2:30 p.m.

May 11, 2011, 1:09 PM EDT

It’s that time again. Join me and producer Chase Hughes at 2:30 p.m. for another live edition of Beltway Baseball. Among the topics of discussion this week: The Nationals’ offensive struggles, the role Roger Bernadina might play moving forward, Bryce Harper’s dominance in Hagerstown and how the Nats are stacking up in the NL East so far.

We’ll also again be answering your questions. Submit them here, then tune in at 2:30 to see if we selected yours.

  1. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Is Strasburg close to beginning to toss off the mound?

  2. josh f - May 11, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Big HR from Nix last night. Has he officially taken the starting LF spot away from Michael Morse? Seems to me we can't afford to take Nix's bat out of the lineup right now.

  3. Wally - May 11, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Ditto on the Strasburg update, and also a Sammy Solis one.

  4. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I concur with both Wally and UNTERP. Where is Mr. Strasburg and how is he progressing? The same for Solis.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    With Lance Nix, Roger Bernadina AND Rick Ankiel, do you see anyway the Nats can carry 3 left handed hitting outfielders?

  6. Knoxville Nat - May 11, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    And to add on to NatsJack's question, should the Nats continue to carry Matt Stairs on the roster?

  7. HHover - May 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    I'd be very interested to hear you discuss what if anything Eckstein has to say about the Nats offensive woes–what does he think is going on? what responsibility does he feel he bears as hitting coach? what changes is he trying to make with specific players? I'd also be curious to hear if there are any rumblings of discontent with Eckstein from management (Riggs or the FO). These "guys are scuffling, it's early in the season" excuses are getting pretty old.Thanks for the opportunity, Mark, and I look forward to hearing the show.On a side note, re Nix:JoshF, Nix's bat is really not that hot (even for the 2011 Nats), certainly not hot enough to justify taking over full time from Morse, if Morse is healthy (which he appears not to be). Nix is hitting .233 over the past 10 games, with 11 strikeouts in 30 ABs.

  8. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Mark, ditto for me on HHover's request for Eckstein to step up to the plate, er..mike. Get his mother to hold his hand, if necessary.

  9. DFL - May 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Nix is no long term solution. He walks too little and strikes out too much. Sadly, I think Nix's problems are also what will prevent Tyler Moore from making a big impact in the majors. Power hitters must learn to earn walks or they become big outmakers.

  10. A DC Wonk - May 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Ditto for me, too, on the hitting woes. We'd be near the top of the division with some decent hitting, given the pitching we've been getting.Off topic — Harper report:Slash line: .377/.459/.679His BA is one point off the league leadThird in the other two categoriesAnd, most importantly, the two guys ahead of him are both more than four years older than Harper.Also: 7 HR's (two off the lead); 11 Doubles (1 off of the lead)

  11. JayB - May 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I agree on getting some answers from decision makes and those who should be accountable for the following…..League leading called 3rd Strikes…that is an approach thing that Eck should have to speak too…..AND….Roster make up….Stairs clearly is a waste of a spot….RIZZO needs to explain what his thinking is and how it is helping the team now and down the road.Mark why have neither of these two grown men addressed these issues with the fans and media. They are charging $1 for games on the upcoming home-stand…clearly they understand that the fan base is not supporting the team as constructed….It seems a good time for Rizzo to explain why we should come to see called 3rd strikes and a 43 year old one player sit on his butt.

  12. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Anonymous said… Yeah, bring Detwiler up. He has a 4+ ERA in AAA ball. I'm sure he will set the NL on fire, May 11, 2011 9:08 AM Mark, I take Anon's comment and go back to my thoughts on Detwiler in Spring Training that I didn't believe he would/will cut it as a starter and suggested he make the 25 man as a reliever, now he is struggling for his 4th game in a row in AAA. As his innings pile up he can't make it through the order multiple times. That isn't starter material. My question to you is, will the Nats make the decision to to turn him into a dominant lefty reliever like you see in Venters?

  13. Neato Torpedo - May 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    How much responsibility does the front office believe Rick Eckstein bears for the current offensive problems?

  14. Bowdenball - May 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    If Harper is going to be a topic, I'd like to hear more about early impressions of his play in the outfield. How quickly is he learning the positions? Is his arm as good as advertised? Do the Nats see him in CF down the line, or do they anticipate playing him in RF and moving Werth elsewhere?

  15. Nats Outsider - May 11, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Anyone who needs an excuse to go to a Nats game in person just got it: The Nats are holding Dollar Night on Monday, May 16. There are $1 tickets, $1 hotdogs, popcorn and peanuts, and even $1 parking. Or, if you beleive that baseball should be played in the daytime, the Nats have a Two Dollar Ticket Tuesday, on May 17.The link for both deals is here:

  16. sjm308 - May 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Mark:could you ask if the FO has ever thought about starting Detwiller in the pen like the Rays did with David Price and the Yankees with Hughes. Might be a way to get him adjusted to life up here and allow another quality arm in the bullpen.

  17. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    What happens to the BP when Gaudin comes off the DL? Will he be DFA'ed or will it be Broderick or perhaps even Slaten? Seems Slaten might be expendable with Storen as the (unofficial) closer and Burnett available to get lefties out.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    On the $1.00 Monday tickets and the $2.00 Tuesday tickets… I believe it is more of a "Please come out and watch us play the PITTSBURGH PIRATES!" more than anything else.

  19. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I think public perception has played a role in Riggleman's approach to the starters. He had a quick hook last year and now this year started wtih the hook afer 5.Mark, in your opinion, is Riggleman managing the starters properly? Last night was a W but 2 weeks ago Lannan lost it on the mound as he is more vulnerable 2nd and surely 3rd and 4th time through the batting order.When you have a great bullpen with the 7th/8th and 9th covered, why push it?

  20. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    On another note… sitting here listening to the Altoona/Harrisburg game this AM (2-0 Senators). I could get used to this 10:30 AM Minor League games stuff.

  21. Mark'd - May 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    I am with SteveM question at 10:44 on Detwiler. Slaten is the forgotten man and clearly Detwiler has regressed back to his former self as a starter. The experiment is over I believe as a starter and last year Detwiler was excellent in the 'pen.Why not now on Detwiler?

  22. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Interesting posts on Detweiler. I suggested the same relief role for him coming out of ST. He probably has better 'relief stuff' than Slaten. If he doesn't turn things around at Syracuse,as a SP, then this becomes a viable option.

  23. Knoxville Nat - May 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    NatsJack said:"I could get used to this 10:30 AM Minor League games stuff."Sure you could, but are you getting any work done? LMAO!!!

  24. Richard - May 11, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Can you provide some insight re the Ankiel acquisition? It makes no sense to me. His career numbers are .246/.312/.430 and this year are .221/.301./.288. Morgan was criticized for a .319 OBP last year and Bernadina lost his CF job in ST apparently for batting .246 last year. The Nats say Rick won the job in ST. On what basis? He hit some HRs but his BA was low, like it's been throughout his career. Riggs was a Cardinal minor league instructor during the years Rick made his improable and inspiring transition from dominant pitcher to position player. Is there a connection? Does Rizzo's explanation of the acquistion, whatever it was, make any sense? Where will Rick play now that some sane person in the org brought Bernadina up for good, hopefully?

  25. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 3:41 PM – I made my point on March 11th (2nd comment on that post) on Detwiler and few agreed. I followed it up a few dozen times and most didn't agree. Now that Detwiler is shakey in Syracuse, people are finally thinking it is a good idea? That is a reactionary opinion instead of being proactive.Rizzo didn't take his best 25 North. I made that point clear. I said take Nix and Bernadina as you don't need Nix and Stairs. Rizzo played the options game and lost again. I believe Slaten has cost this team 3 games and maybe more as Riggleman won't even use him in classic LH/LH matchups. Gaudin is garbage as is Stairs so when is Rizzo going to empty the trash? This team may not be hitting but the best asset of this team last year was the bullpen and with a stepped up rotation, and lousy hitting, the bullpen needs all the help you can give it.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Steve M….. think back to how long it took for the organization to convert Colin Balester. Now compare that to the time Ross Detwiler has actually had to show himself as a starter.Slow down.

  27. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    @ Steve M: On Detwiler, obviously great minds think!I also think that Rizzo & Co. didn't bring the best 25 north. Riggleman talked about the 'numbers' game', which I found tedious.

  28. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Why is there so much talk about trading Jason Marquis. Seems that when Strasburg returns he would fit in well with Zimmermann, Gorzy and whomever wins the #5 spot next season. JTinSC

  29. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    NatsJack, I have seen the Balester experiment and it was more painful as a starter and that decision should have been made much quicker too. Detwiler will add 2 mph to his fastball if he was a reliever and if he can pitch 1 to 2 innings he has the element of surprise with his pitches which he doesn't have in the mid to latter innings of games as a starter. Unless Detwiler can add a new pitch to his repetoire then it is the same old thing with him as a starter just like Lannan. They are so hittable by the 3rd time through the order in the 5th to 7th innings.The Detwiler experiment has taken way too long. Get him up here with McCatty and try again next year as a starter. The Nats need him right now in the bullpen and only wish they had the foresight to do it back on March 31st. Those 3 inning appearances we saw and marveled at in Viera were essentially "relief" appearances.Sorry that some of you still can't see him for what he is and also glad they made the same decision with Josh Smoker, by the way.

  30. SCNatsFan - May 11, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    My question is whether, in your opinion, it is worth it to continue to carry Broderick and have the short bullpen. Also wouldn't mind thoughts about HRod and whether he is showing any improvement or is what they guy is.

  31. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Anonymous said… Why is there so much talk about trading Jason Marquis. Seems that when Strasburg returns he would fit in well with Zimmermann, Gorzy and whomever wins the #5 spot next season. JTinSC May 11, 2011 12:25 PM JTinSC, Again, there is no real trade value in Jason Marquis based on his history as I have pointed out several times. He is a winning pitcher April to July over his career and a horrible pitcher in August to September in his career. Seriously, what is his value on July 31st?His arm gets fatigued about the 20th start each season so anyone thinking that will change this year should kiss the "hoping" bush.Best to extend his contract for another year with an option for a 4th year and limit his innings and pitch counts to 90 to keep him fresh. It is great to see the production the team is getting from Marquis so far this season.Here was Albert Einstein's definition of insanity and it fits so well to sports: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  32. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Steve M. said… Those 3 inning appearances we saw and marveled at in Viera were essentially "relief" appearances.Interesting point. Don't know whether I agree only because lefties who throw 92 – 93 are hard to come by. Also, I think they (the organization) kind of mishandled him, not developing him by rushing him to the ML. I understand why they rushed him since SP has been non-existence for several years at a competent level. The organization itself has been and was caught between a rock and a hard place…

  33. JaneB - May 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Re HRod…why does a few extra MPH on his fast ball make everyone hot, given that he can locate the ball? Does 5mph really matter that much?

  34. raymitten - May 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    My question is about the hitting woes/strikeouts, but less personal towards Rick Eckstein. Do the Nats take too many pitches? Nats hitters (particularly the big boys like Werth, LaRoche and Morse) seem to take at least one 'fat' pitch per at bat early, putting him behind in the count, and then trying to hit the pitcher's best pitch at 0-2 or 1-2. Wouldn't a more aggressive approach end in more productivity and less strikeouts? Who is responsible for this passive approach to hitting?

  35. phil dunn - May 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Please don't ask any questions about Rick.Eckstein. Any criticsm of him appears to be off limits on this site.

  36. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    To further illustrate Marquis career numbers, I dropped out July to show April to June, Marquis has a career winning percentage of .604 at 58-38 and a career winning percentage August till the end of the season of .400 going 28-42.What is someone going to trade to get a .400 career starter on a 2 month rental?See, this information is readily available but people would rather throw out their ideas with dong no research. This is why Marquis has never been traded during a season because you will get nothing much in return if you wait till July 31st.

  37. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    UNTERP.NAT, thanks. You will also find that if you put Detwiler in relief where he can go all out for an inning or 2 his fastball will be 93-95. Jonny Venters is making a great career coming out of the bullpen as a power lefty set-up man and he is unhittable against LH and almost as good against RH. Detwiler has better stuff than Burnett (IMHO) and will be able to move into that spot eventually.

  38. fpcsteve - May 11, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    If we're ginning up questions for this afternoon, I would be interested in the Nats' perception of Detwiler's coachability. I have read interviews where he sounded politely resistant to making serious changes. I remember an article after St. Claire left that included hints of conflict over the issue of making chnages in how Detwiler pitches. Just a thought…

  39. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    phil dunn said… Please don't ask any questions about Rick.Eckstein. Any criticsm of him appears to be off limits on this site. May 11, 2011 12:48 PM Here's the deal with Eck, he is Zim's man and done a great job with him so doubt Eck is going anywhere, but when offense is so bad, do you look at the coach or the quality of the player?Believe or not, he has done a good job with Morse on going oppo with the outside pitches, but you have to wonder if it is the student or the teacher meaning Morse is a sucker for off-speed and good sliders so has Morse gotten worse overall or are there other factors?Someone had a great quote where Eck when he was hired and said he just makes minor adjustments which I think is bull. I want to know his overall philosophies and why he has tried to make large overhauls with some of these guys.Kevin Long with the Yankees seems able to do overhauls that work. Read the story on what he did with Curtis Granderson on his swing and follow through with both hands on the bat. Truly remarkable if the numbers hold up for Granderson.

  40. Bowdenball - May 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    raymitten-In my opinion patience at the plate is a virtue. Take a look at the guys who led the league in pitches per plate appearance in 2010. You'll see some pretty impressive names- guys like our own Jayson Werth, Brett Gardner who had easily the best season of his career, David Ortiz, Bobby Abreu, Jose Bautista, Daric Barton, etc. They all either excel at on-base percentage or home run hitting or both. There's nothing wrong with either of those things.

  41. Feel Wood - May 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    "This is why Marquis has never been traded during a season because you will get nothing much in return if you wait till July 31st."No, the reason he has never been traded during a season is because until now he has always been in the starting rotation of a team that is in contention at the trading deadline (and beyond). Teams in contention don't trade pitchers out of their rotation in the middle of a pennant race. And in the case of a pitcher not performing well as part of a pennant race rotation, they don't trade them either because no other team will take them. You can do all the research you want, but that doesn't automatically make your conclusion right. Sometimes common sense prevails.

  42. HHover - May 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    @ Steve M. re: Marquis – A late season fade is to be expected with Marquis, tho you're probably exaggerating the extent (from 2007-2009, he had an ERA of 4.91 after July 31st vs. 4.09 up to July 31st). In any event, that doesn't mean he has no trade-deadline value, for two reasons. First, because he doesnt have to be an ace to have value–he just has to be better than the 4-5 starters on a contending team. And second, because contention-hungry teams are more likely to overvalue rental players with a good first half, even if history says they shouldn't.If the Nats can get a good young player in exchange, I'd say it's a deal worth taking, since Marquis's contract is up this season, and the Nats should be wary of extending him.

  43. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Steve M. said… UNTERP.NAT, thanks. You will also find that if you put Detwiler in relief where he can go all out for an inning or 2 his fastball will be 93-95. More good point. Didn't look at it like that. I still think I'd give him one more shot at starting. I don't pay too much attention to Syracuse and stats there, since he could be working on pitches and mechanics, but I ain't against him moving into the pen…

  44. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    JaneB said… Re HRod…why does a few extra MPH on his fast ball make everyone hot, given that he can locate the ball? Does 5mph really matter that much? May 11, 2011 12:43 PM On HenRod do you mean can locate or can't locate? I don't think HenRod is locating "many" pitches.As far as velocity, it all comes down to reaction time from release from the pitchers hand to the bat as a 5% greater speed takes away 5% reaction time from the batter but almost all MLB guys can hit 95mph fastballs and below if left over the plate, but ramp that up just 5% to 100mph and there are few that can consistently center a 100mph fastball with movement over 1 at-bat. A guy like HenRod who throws 100mph and not for strikes doesn't do any good in my opinion as walks are killing his game.

  45. HHover - May 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    @ Bowdenball Taking pitches is a virtue only if you're taking the right pitches–which means you have to be able to distinguish between the good and the bad ones. It also helps if you're comfortable batting behind in the count, and are effective at fouling off the borderline pitches. I don't see much evidence that Morse is good at any of that, frankly, and I wonder how teachable he is at this pt in his career (tweaking someone's swing is one thing, but changing their entire approach at the plate is another).

  46. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    UNTERP.NAT said… More good point. Didn't look at it like that. I still think I'd give him one more shot at starting. I don't pay too much attention to Syracuse and stats there, since he could be working on pitches and mechanics, but I ain't against him moving into the pen… May 11, 2011 1:21 PM Read my earlier point too that if he could add one additional pitch to his repitoire and that is a big "if" as it would have to be perfected, then he could be a good starter. He is a 3 pitch guy and even AAA guys are sitting on his fastball once they have seen him a couple of times through the order.Clippard was once a Yankee starter and converted to the bullpen and it saved his career. Just imagine a bullpen of Burnett, Clippard, Detwiler and Storen. The other 3 are Coffey, HenRod and Broderick for now.

  47. Bowdenball - May 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    HHover-Sure, you have to be good at taking the right pitches, and some guys on this team aren't. Frankly, though, if you're not good at taking the right pitches, you're never going to be a good hitter no matter what approach you take. There's not a lot of Ichiros and Vlad Guerreros in this world. Also, it's not the best strategy if you're up against a guy like Cliff Lee who will just pour pitch after pitch in the zoneAll things being equal, though, patience is better than swinging early. Not only do you get to see more pitches and adjust to the pitcher, and not only do you give yourself a better chance of drawing a walk, you also wear out the starter more quickly. Pretty much all the guys in the Top 20 in pitches per plate appearance last year had either a great OBP year or a great power year. Obviously all other things being equal, the approach works.

  48. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Feel Wood/HHover, Feel Wood is correct that Marquis has been on many playoff contenders, but all GMs have read the book on Marquis and know his value which is why he also has been left off of post-season rosters and the last time he started a post-season game was 2004. He had 1 appearance in the playoffs in 2008 and 2009 and that was as a reliever. He is known as a guy who can get you into the playoffs on his performances early in the season but if you guys want to re-write the history, go ahead because you are wrong.The Nats won't be offered top prospects in any trade of Marquis at July 31st so Rizzo will hang on to him or trade him for whatever he can get like his Nyjer Morgan/Alberto Gonzalez trade.

  49. HHover - May 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    @ Steve MIf Marquis continues to pitch well, his value on the trade market as a #4-5 SP may not be enough to bring "top prospects" but it will certainly be greater than the value of a mediocre, head-case OF or a back-up IF. Talk about re-writing history…. @ Bowdenball – I agree, in general, but I'm thinking about Morse, specifically, and whether teaching patience for patience's sake is good for someone with his skill set. Morse seems to be making the effort to take more pitches this year, but they're the wrong pitches–often fat pitches early in the count. That leaves him looking uncomfortable for the rest of the AB, and the end result is that he doesn't actually see more pitches, total, per AB this year than last. And his walks and power are down to boot, tho in the latter case, I wonder how much of that could be his knee injury.The question is not how to make Morse a top 20 hitter, which he'll never be, but how to make him a good enough hitter to contribute to this team.

  50. Mark'd - May 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    SteveM, I understand your point and see Feelwoods point that it doesn't look good for a playoff contender to trade a starter late in the season. Overall though I agree with SteveM that Marquis trade value is nominal until he can prove that he is a winner in Aug/Sept.And HHover, a 4.91 vs 4.09 ERA is huge over a large sample size. Just compare team ERAs with a .82 differential.

  51. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Laynce Nix has 0 walks. And he strikes out a good bit. He is hitting right now and he does have good knees.

  52. Stew Magnuson - May 11, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    If the Nats promote Harper, would they send him to Potomac, or on up to AA Harrisburg? Would they be concerned about sending him to Woodbridge and putting him more in the spotlight?

  53. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Ditto on the Strasburg update, and also a Sammy Solis one.Both in X-ST. Solis recovering from the hamstring and Strasburg rehabbing from Tommy Johns. According to Ben Goessling Solis is almost ready. I expect they are waiting for the right opportunity to place him in Potomac.As for Strasburg, don't be impatient. You know Rizzo won't let him do anything until he is absolutely, positively ready for it. He won't be on a mound until June at the earliest if then.

  54. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    The Nats won't be offered top prospects in any trade of Marquis at July 31st so Rizzo will hang on to him or trade him for whatever he can get like his Nyjer Morgan/Alberto Gonzalez trade.Yeah, although he is going to fetch more than Livo would. But, Livo could be moved to the bullpen as the "sixth" starter, rubber armed long reliever. Its why I keep thinking Lannan. He's still very young … everyone has the book on him too but … they just might get more for Lannan when all is said and done just because he is young and is left handed.

  55. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    I like how Mark segued from the 3 LH outfielders to Stairs.Glad Mark gave his opinion on Eckstein, and agree with his opinion so sorry to the guys that want him replaced.Thanks Chase for putting up my question on Detwiler. I think Mark gave a good "company line" answer and reasoning, but still I don't think Detwiler will ever be more than what you see as a starter. Very inconsistent and back of the rotation. If the Nats extend Marquis, the 2012 rotation is set at this moment with (pending no new signings):1) Strasburg2) JZim'nn3) Marquis4) Gorzelanny5) LannanEven if you don't re-sign/extend Marquis, this team needs to go outside then to find a #2 or #3 and Detwiler still doesn't have a place. So while his Arb clock ticks, they are wasting his talent in AAA as he could be helping right now in the bullpen scenario I posted above.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Steve M…. I framed my question about the three left handed hitting outfielders in hopes that it would be the gracefull way to rid ourselves of Matt Stairs (and JayB's constant whining).

  57. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Wow, new Nats blogs appearing all the time in the left gutter! I am thinking of starting one called Nats Anonymii. Anonymii hear alland see all about the Nats … and never err even in jest?I wonder if the would add a blog like that?

  58. A DC Wonk - May 11, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Yes, H-Rod is wild, but he just turned 24 a few months ago. There's still time for him to get control.

  59. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Even if you don't re-sign/extend Marquis, this team needs to go outside then to find a #2 or #3 and Detwiler still doesn't have a place.That's easy for 2012 and perhaps even late 2011:1. Strasburg2. Zimmermann/Gorzelanny3. Zimmermann/Gorzelanny(You've got three that seem able to go against anyone in the NL.)4. Yunesky Maya/Bradley Meyers/Tom MiloneAt this point, you might out and look for a #2/#3 starter unless he could be a #1 on any other team. (Matt Cain/Roy Oswalt). But they are likely locked up and expensive to acquire through trades. Instead you go for the "ace" again as Rizzo did last year to move everyone down one and take some pressure off the 3 top listed. Now you've got a damned good rotation, a contending rotation. It would definitely help to sign Albert Pujols even though that spot on the Nats roster is admirably manned right now. Pujols plus continuing success with rebuilding the minor league system might just equate to an annual contender.

  60. Mark'd - May 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Good job NatsJack. I just found most of Mark's responses to be politically correct and hope some these questions find their way to Rizzo although they will probably be the same politically correct answers.Actions speak louder than words and truthfully am surprised that Rizzo hasn't DFA'd anyone from the Opening Day roster yet which isn't making this team better. Stairs, Slaten and Gaudin have to go.

  61. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    H-Rod's slider will make or break him as a reliever. If he throws that over consistently he won't have to throw his fastball that often. He would be filthy!

  62. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    I guess with batting/pitching coaches, there are at least 2 issues: 1) The player; and 2) the coach. Swisher and Grandison both benefited from Kevin Longs' 'tweaking'. But then again, Swisher and Grandison both had decent track records before they were 'tweaked'.Same with RZim and Eckstein. A good bat is lathed from good wood.

  63. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    When Morse used to pull the ball, he was a much better hitter. Now that he is trying to hit everything to RF, he's lost hit power, he's confused and he's a disaster. If this was Eckstein's brilliant idea, shame on him.

  64. JaneB - May 12, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    SteveM… I meant CAN'T with a T. I have to learn to check for the auto correct.I agree that Slaten needs to be somewhere other than one our bullpen.Mark Z… I missed the broadcast…any place we ca hear it?

  65. Mark Zuckerman - May 12, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    JaneB: Click on the above video. You should be able to watch the entire episode.



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