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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The future is so bright - or is it?

Today's mind game is this: Why is it always so stunningly beautiful on days when I'm stuck inside to watch baseball and so nasty and wet when I'm actually there to see it live? I'll have to work on that. Today looks so great that I might forego watching baseball and get off my fat duff and do something. Or not.

No matter what I do, I have to get something off my mind first. I'm delving into territory about which I know next to nothing. Yes, I know that's a wide area. Reading Boswell's column the other day left with me lots of thoughts and one big question.

When all this pitching finally "arrives," who is going to be left to hit?

Brian Oliver does such a marvelous job over at Nats Farm Authority and I'm sure he'll have some ready answers. It is quite all right for others to chime in as well.

Let's take Uncle Stan on faith when he whips out that list of pitchers. A real rotation is in there. Take the current five. Add Strasburg, the No. 10 pick this year, Balester, someone else not on the radar yet (or deeper in the system I don't know about yet). Out of that group, a rotation will emerge. One or two may fade or fail, one may get hurt, one may get traded to bring in an answer to the big question. Somehow, five will solidify and this should be a good rotation.

Again - let's say this is reasonable by 2011 - who hits?

Going down the current optimum order:

Guzman - contract ends next year. Don't see an extension in the offing. Is there a shortstop in the system who is ready by 2011>?
Johnson - contract up this year. I still think he gets traded for prospects. I don't see him signing here again. This is it for Nick in D.C. Marrero?
Zimmerman - he'll be here, thankfully.
Dunn - this year and next on the current deal. Maybe he'll be extended. Despite his lack of defense, I'll take him forever. Likely? No. So who is next? Burgess?
Dukes - I suspect he'll be here, unless he finds trouble again. I hope not. He's also pretty fragile, as Boswell points out.
Willingham - under club control for two years after this, I think.
Flores - is he fragile, too?
Hernandez - I have no real issues with him as the second baseman but don't like to think of him as the long-term answer. Is there a future 2B in the system? I still want answers on Orlando Hudson and this alleged failed physical.

So I guess it comes down to three spots: 1b who is always on base, SS who hits pretty darn well and the big bat. Who will those spots?

There's also the whole bullpen issue. Perhaps it is being patched together for now but are Ron Villone and Mike MacDougal long-term answers? I think not. Where are those answers? If there was a closer even close, I suspect we would have seen him by now. My man Zech has been in the system a while. Is the closer of the future already in the organization? Are strong relievers of the future already in the system?

Is the Nick Johnson for Manny Delcarmen trade dead?

Here's hoping there are some answers. I'd hate to see this can't miss future rotation all grown up and having to win 2-1 every night.


Sean Hogan said...

I think we're in good shape. As we've seen this year, it's much easier to find bats in free agency than arms.

As for the SS conundrum, I'm a believer in Danny Espinosa. If he can cut down on the K's, he looks real good.

An Briosca Mor said...

I don't know why you're so certain that Johnson, Guzman and Dunn will be gone as soon as their contracts are up. The Nats have a history of locking up players before their walk years are over. For example: Dmitri, Belliard, Guzman before, Johnson before, Kearns, Schneider. Granted, many of these have not worked out, but still they've had no qualms doing it.

MikeHarris said...

I'm not certain, I just think it is a reasonable guess.

I think Dunn is most likely to return, followed by Guzman and then Johnson. I think the chance of the last two is pretty slim - practically none in the case of Johnson.

My best guess (only that, a guess) is that Johnson goes west. He's a Sacramento guy. But, hell, maybe nobody makes him a good offer based on his injury history.

I would have no problem with a healthy Nick Johnson in the lineup for many years. I just don't see it.

Schruender said...

Willingham is arbitration eligible in 2010 and 2011.

I'm with you on Johnson and Guzman. I don't see a team that is not doing well holding onto all of their veterans. If Johnson is healthy it seems like this would be the optimal time to deal him.

Bryan said...

I tend to agree that Johnson is probably gone at the end of the season, if not by the trade deadline. As much as I'd like to see Johnson stay, I think it's not a complete wash because we could put Dunn at first where he might perform a little better defensively than he does in left.