07/15/10 6:24 PM ET
Inbox: What could Nats get for Dunn?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nats fans' questions
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Dean O. Winnipeg, Canada
General manager Mike Rizzo indicated that he wants a lot in return. Because Dunn is a free agent after this season, I'm not sure if an opposing team is willing to do that. I would not be surprised if Dunn stays with the Nationals the rest of the season.
Any thoughts on the Nationals possibly moving infielder Cristian Guzman and closer Matt Capps at the non-waiver Trade Deadline? If Drew Storen is your closer of the future and Tyler Clippard is the setup guy, why not get something of value for Capps and see if a contender will take Guzman?
-- Terry O., Fairfax Station, Va.
Let's start with Capps. I would be shocked if Capps is dealt. I don't think the Nats forgot what they went through with the bullpen last year. Rizzo called it "incompetent." I think it would be a mistake if the team traded Capps, as he's improved the bullpen dramatically. Plus, there are no guarantees that Clippard and Storen can do the job as closers. Clippard has struggled lately, and Storen has to show more to convince me that he can be a big league closer.
As far as Guzman goes, it's going to be hard to trade him. He is a 10-5 player, so he can veto any deal, and making a total of $8 million. I don't see a team taking on his salary unless the Nationals pay a portion of the money. I also don't see a team giving up a lot for Guzman in a trade. We'll see. Rizzo has shocked me before.
When do you see Chien-Ming Wang returning to the big leagues?
-- Noah L., Aldie, Va.
Rizzo told Bob Carpenter, the TV voice of the Nationals, that the team was looking at an August return for Wang. According to Rizzo, Wang has a shoulder injury similar to what NFL quarterback Drew Brees had with the Chargers in 2005. Brees had a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
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-- Alex C., Montreal
Keep in mind that El Duque is a reliever. It will depend on how well he performs in the Minor Leagues. If he does produce, I would not be a surprised if he was a September callup.
Do the Nats view Luis Atilano as a long-term part of the starting rotation? What does he need to improve?
-- Brian G., Richmond, Va.
I think it depends on how Atilano does during the second half of the season. Ask me this question toward the end of the season. Atilano needs to cut down on his walks and stop giving up runs in the early innings.
How about Alberto Gonzalez playing second or shortstop? Wouldn't that improve the defense and allow the Nationals to leave their Nos. 3-4-5 hitters intact?
-- Judi P., Arlington, Va.
I will tell you that Gonzalez is not the answer. He was given a chance last year and didn't do a good job. He stopped hitting and wasn't very good defensively. I think he is a very good utility player. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I feel about Gonzalez.
With offense and defense lacking, and starting pitching only going into the fifth or sixth inning on a regular basis, how much longer should loyal fans expect to wait until the Nats improve and become competitive?
-- Marty, P., Springfield, Va.
I think the Nationals have made improvements. I think the pitching is much better than it was the previous two years. I know Rizzo is trying hard to improve the team. This is only his second full year on the job, so give him time. Rizzo will get the job done.
When will the Craig Stammen project be over? He looks lost in the Majors.
-- Jack, Buffalo, N.Y.
More than anyone on the current roster, Stammen has shocked me the most. I expected him to have a great season because his right elbow is 100 percent. I don't know what the problem is. Only he can answer it. Like Atilano, he has to stop giving up runs in the early innings. Hopefully, things will change for Stammen in the second half.