01/04/11 2:34 PM EST
Inbox: Should Nats send out Morse code?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson fields questions from fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Dylan I., Belmont, N.Y.
I get a lot of questions about Morse. The team doesn't believe he is an everyday player because of his swing and being overmatched against top-of-the-rotation starters. For now, Morse will see action in a platoon role. I could see Morse splitting time with Rick Ankiel or Roger Bernadina in left field. Remember, general manager Mike Rizzo said that he would rather use a first baseman from outside the organization.
Do you think there might be a chance of the Nats bringing back Nick Johnson to play first base in 2011?
-- Louis G., Washington
I don't see it unless he gets a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Johnson is an above-average hitter and first baseman, but he gets hurt too often. Last year wasn't any different as a member of the Yankees.
Where does Tyler Moore fit into the first-base picture?
-- Dave C., Arlington, Va.
Moore, who was the club's Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, is highly regarded, but is not expected to be ready for the Majors this year. He could ready for the big leagues in a year or two.
Even if your statement is correct that Adam Dunn was "one dimensional," does the offensive production and clubhouse leadership far outweigh his defensive weaknesses? I believe that it does. Let's see how the new Nationals develop.
-- Bob M., Daytona Beach, Fla.
You are not the only one who is still talking about Dunn, who is considered a living legend to many fans in Washington. However, there are people in the organization who believe that his below-average defense outweighed his power production. As far as Dunn's leadership goes, I thought Desmond was more of a leader.
Have a question about the Nationals?
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Why would the Nationals choose Adam LaRoche over Russell Branyan? All the metrics show that Branyan is a better hitter. He is as good a fielder and way cheaper. I've heard no mention of Branyan at all. Why is LaRoche the clear choice?
-- Steven Biel, Washington
The Nationals did have interest in Branyan. He was considered if they didn't get LaRoche or Casey Kotchman. I have to respectfully disagree with you on Branyan. He is a platoon player who has a .207 career batting average against lefties. At this point, I would rather have LaRoche on an everyday basis as opposed to seeing a platoon system at first base.
Have the Nationals considered moving Ian Desmond to center field and letting Danny Espinosa play shortstop?
-- Kermit S., Gettysburg, Pa.
The answer is no. The only way Espinosa would play shortstop is if Desmond is traded. There was talk about Desmond playing the outfield last Spring Training, but that was squashed by Rizzo.
What are your thoughts on the deal that sent Josh Willingham to the Athletics?
-- Joey C., Washington
It's too early to judge, but I like the fact that the Nationals are getting younger. I am a firm believer of "playing the kids." It will be interesting to see what right-hander Henry Rodriguez, acquired from Oakland, does in the late innings. I don't think we'll see outfielder Corey Brown in the big leagues this year, but it wouldn't surprise me if he has a strong showing during Spring Training.