01/07/13 1:59 PM ET
Inbox: Could Zimmerman move across diamond?
Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson responds to questions from fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Kevin L., Olney, Md.
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E-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
It depends on Zimmerman's health. He had minor right shoulder surgery after the World Series, and we'll find out during Spring Training if the shoulder is at full strength. A couple of years ago, there was talk of putting Zimmerman at first base if the Nationals were able to acquire a third baseman -- like Adrian Beltre, who was a free agent at the time -- but that never happened.
I think you said it best -- if Rendon stays healthy. In his first professional season, he missed a lot of time because of an ankle injury. Let's see how he does in the next couple of years in the Minor Leagues before he is named the everyday third baseman.
Why the talk of trading Michael Morse when trading Jayson Werth would be far better for the team? Besides all the money it would free up, Morse is three years younger, hits far better, especially with men on base, and has more power.
-- Keith B., Washington
Numbers don't tell the whole story about Werth. In my opinion, he turned the attitude of the clubhouse around. I felt the Nats played more like a team once he arrived in D.C. after the 2010 season. That's because he doesn't tolerate anyone who doesn't hustle. Besides, I felt Werth had a great season in 2012 once he recovered from his wrist injury. After all, he solved the team's problems at the leadoff spot. He will now hit in the middle of the order, and it would not surprise me if Werth was named captain of the team this year.
As far as Morse goes, the Nationals are all set in the outfield. At first base, they really want Adam LaRoche back, and they are willing to trade Morse for pitching prospects. Even if LaRoche doesn't come back, I believe 2013 will be Morse's last year in a Nats uniform. He is a free agent after the season, and I see the team going with a younger player in 2014.
Any worries about losing three left-handers out of the bullpen? That was a big strength last year. What are the options?
-- Ronald, Martinsburg, W.Va.
Don't forget that Zach Duke will be the long reliever. I still don't know who the situational lefty will be, although Bill Bray could be the guy. Let's see who the Nationals acquire during Spring Training.
I know they have right-handed relievers who can get left-handed hitters out, but manager Davey Johnson has always said the more lefties the better for matchup situations.
Morse was drafted as a shortstop, so is there a way the Nationals could convert Michael into a second baseman?
-- Noah L., Aldie, Va.
I'm sure Morse wouldn't mind. But that is never going to happen. The Nationals are set with Danny Espinosa at second base, with Steve Lombardozzi as the backup.
What are the chances the Nats try to make a trade for Giancarlo Stanton? Then they can put Werth or Bryce Harper at first base.
-- Gary A., Moncton, Canada
It will never happen, at least in the next two years, because Washington's outfield is set with Harper, Denard Span and Werth. Stanton is a Nats killer, and he would be good on the roster, but the Marlins reportedly are not looking to trade Stanton anyway.
What are the Nats' plans with Jhonatan Solano going forward?
-- Koby G., Charlottesville, Va.
I'm expecting Solano to start the season in the Minor Leagues. It would not be a surprise if the catcher received a September callup late in the season, however. It will be interesting to see what will happen in 2014. Kurt Suzuki will be a free agent after this season, and Solano could get a chance to become a backup.