12/12/11 2:00 PM EST
Inbox: What's the Nats' next offseason move?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers fans' questions
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Cameron C., Washington D.C.
I know people continue to dream about Fielder, but the Nationals are not actively pursuing him. They currently have two first basemen they are happy with -- Adam La Roche, who enters the year as the starting first baseman, and Michael Morse.
What was the point of the Ryan Perry-Collin Balester trade?
-- Alex C., Montreal
Both players needed a change of scenery. Perry could be a sixth- or seventh-inning reliever before Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen enter the game. As for Balester, he was up and down from the Major Leagues, and he never could find the consistency on the mound in the big leagues.
Give general manager Mike Rizzo some time. I expect him to make more moves soon. Remember, he said he is not going to be rushed into making moves.
Would Casey Blake be a good addition to the Nats' bench? He has better overall numbers than Mark DeRosa.
-- Spencer H., Bethesda, Md.
I don't know if Blake would accept being a bench player. He is coming off a neck injury and I'm sure he wants to show that he could play every day at third base. DeRosa is healthy now and I think he would be a great backup first baseman. Manager Davey Johnson said recently he wants a veteran bench, and I also think Greg Dobbs and Willie Harris would be great additions for the Nats.
Have a question about the Nationals?
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Why have the Nationals been so quiet this offseason? I thought that they were looking to add the final pieces. If they don't act, the Nationals may miss their window.
-- Zack S., Vienna, Va.
You can't say the Nats haven't tried hard to make a move. They were unable to sign Mark Buehrle. Both sides were far apart on dollar figures. Rizzo is trying to make moves, but he is not going to give up the farm to get the veteran starting pitcher or the center fielder he wants. Let's see what Rizzo does when it comes to bidding for Yu Darvish or trying to acquire center fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
I've heard the Nationals are interested in Cespedes. Can he make an immediate impact at the Major League level?
-- Ryan K., Carlisle, Pa.
I don't know. Even Rizzo is not sure. We have to see how Cespedes adjusts to American baseball. The Cuban slugger is expected to become a free agent soon, after which he is expected to sign with a Major League team.
A while ago, there was talk about Hanley Ramirez requesting a trade due to his unwillingness to move to third base. What are the chances that the Nats move shortstop Ian Desmond to the Rays for B.J. Upton and then send Stephen Lombardozzi and LaRoche to the Marlins for Ramirez? This would give the Nationals an All-Star shortstop and center fielder. This would also allow for Morse to move back to first base and Bryce Harper to play left field.
-- Cann A., Fairfax, Va.
Man, you sound like you want to become the Nats' general manager. Call me crazy, but I wouldn't trade Desmond for Upton. Desmond has too much of an upside and I think he will be an All-Star.
I would do the trade for Ramirez in a heartbeat, but I would have him play at a different position like center field.