Inbox: How long will Zimmermann start?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans' questions
What happens when Jordan Zimmermann reaches his innings limit? Does he go on the disabled list or will he be kept on the roster?
-- Tim O., Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Zimmermann is expected to pitch until early September. By that time, the rosters will be expanded, so there won't be a need to put him on the DL.
As much as I like Ian Desmond, I don't think he is as important to the team as everyone thinks. I would trade him for Michael Bourn any day of the week. Bourn is exactly the kind of player this team needs: a center fielder with a lot of speed and who can get on base. What do you think about this?
-- David P., Boucherville, Quebec
I was able to learn a lot about Desmond through former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. There are a lot of people who feel the opposite of the way you do. Desmond is not afraid to be a leader and talk to a pitcher when he's in trouble. Desmond also is not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to talking about the team. On Sunday, for example, Desmond said the team has looked flat since coming out of the All-Star break. I don't know many players who would come out and say it that way.
Also, there is a feeling in the organization that he will put it all together -- offensively and defensively -- one day. Hopefully, he can put it together during the second half of the season.
Who do you think would be a better fit with the Nationals: Bourn or B.J. Upton?
-- Jack H., Falls Church, Va.
I think Upton is the better fit. I think he would do well in the middle of the lineup, and I believe playing close to home and with his childhood friend Ryan Zimmerman would work wonders for him. I've had people tell me that general manager Mike Rizzo really loves Upton, so I expect Rizzo to work hard to get him.
What are the chances of the Nationals making a run at Prince Fielder in the upcoming offseason?
-- Kevin L. Olney, Md.
I know a lot of people believe that the Nationals will have a good chance to get Fielder because his agent is Scott Boras, who's also the agent for Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. As of now, Fielder would not be on the Nats' radar this offseason. I really see them sticking with Adam LaRoche and putting Michael Morse back in the outfield.
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Do you think we have a realistic shot at Bourn? The Nats could trade Desmond, Tyler Clippard and another prospect for him. What do you think?
-- Dude O., Mississippi
No, based on the people I've talked to. From what I understand, the Nationals haven't made that kind of offer for Bourn. From what I understand, the Nationals haven't had any significant talks with Houston about Bourn in a while.
With LaRoche under contract for one more year, as well as the emergence of Morse as a middle-of-the-order hitter, what kind of future do you foresee Chris Marrero having with the Nats: bench player or a trade chip?
-- Angelo M., Portland
That's a great question. He could be used as trade bait. Marrero could always hit, but he has improved dramatically with the glove, so teams show interest in Marrero for those reasons. We'll see what happens. I don't see him as a bench player for the Nats.
How much thought was given to Jayson Werth's ability to handle the pressure of owning a superstar contract? There is no doubt in my mind that is why he is hitting poorly.
-- Shane B., Seattle
I've taken hits for being a Werth defender, and I'm going to stand by what I've said before. I think he has handled his struggles well. He has not taken his struggles out on the media. I really believe he is the No. 1 reason this team plays hard every night. He really is a leader the young players look up to.
I also believe Werth's hitting will come around. I'm not going to judge Werth's abilities at the plate based on 3 1/2 months. Ask me in two years about the pressure of his contract. Maybe I'll have a better answer then.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.