© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

02/01/10 6:06 PM EST

Inbox: Who's left out of Nats outfield?

Beat reporter Bill Ladson fields questions from fans

What do you think about Justin Maxwell playing right field on a regular basis for the Nationals?
-- Michael W., Silver Spring, Md.

I think highly of Maxwell as a player and person, but I think he must have a great Spring Training to make the 25-man roster. Right now, the job belongs to Elijah Dukes. There are many in the organization who feel Maxwell has holes in his swing. I would not be surprised if Indians manager Manny Acta asked his superiors to trade for him. Acta has always been a Maxwell fan.

Is there any possibility the Nats bring in Johnny Damon to solidify the third outfield position?
-- Andrew G., Fairfax, Va.

There is no chance that Damon will be a member of the Nationals. He is a defensive liability and belongs in the American League. The Nationals have to improve their defense, not make it worse.

Right now, the Nationals outfield shapes up to be Josh Willingham in left field, Nyjer Morgan in center and Dukes in right.

Will Willingham get traded?
-- Jennifer W., Gaithersburg, Va.

I don't think he will. I think he still has a lot to offer to the Nationals. He is a good clubhouse person and can do a lot of damage with the bat. In order for Willingham to be traded, the Nationals have to be blown away by the players they receive in return.

How does Matt Chico fit into the Nationals' plans in 2010? Do you see him competing and winning a rotation spot?
-- Benjamin C., Gaithersburg, Md.

Have a question about the Nationals?
Jamal CollierE-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Jamal Collier for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
First Name, Last Initial:


Email Address:


I don't know. All I know is, Chico is 100 percent healthy. But like many of the pitchers coming to Spring Training, Chico must show he can make an impact in the rotation.

Do you think the Nationals will acquire a veteran starter before Spring Training?
-- Joy M., Washington

I think they will get that starter, but it will be via trade. I don't see the Nationals spending a lot of money on the remaining free-agent pitchers. For all we know, they have added that starter by signing Miguel Batista to a Minor League deal.

How much better will the Nationals be if they acquire second baseman Orlando Hudson?
-- Kenny I., Baltimore

I believe Hudson will be a difference maker with the Nationals. I think he and Nyjer Morgan would be dominating at the top of the lineup. It could be similar to what the Marlins went through with Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo in 2003, when they won the World Series. I also believe the Nats will improve their infield defense with Hudson, who has a great track record.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.