1/15/2014 5:39 P.M. ET
Inbox: What will Carroll, Fontenot bring to Nats?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from Nationals fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
What was the reason behind signing Jamey Carroll and Mike Fontenot to Minor League deals?
-- Bill M., Springfield, Va.
General manager Mike Rizzo loves to have depth at all positions. Remember, with Steve Lombardozzi no longer on the team, the Nationals are looking for protection in case Danny Espinosa is not successful during Spring Training.
At which Minor League level will Lucas Giolito start this coming season after tearing it up with the Gulf Coast Nationals and Class A Auburn?
-- Vic R., Manassas, Va.
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I'm expecting Giolito to start with Class A Hagerstown. He has come a long way since undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago, and I think he will rise quickly through the system and be in the big leagues by 2016. I really believe Giolito is going to be a star when it's all said and done.
Am I the only one concerned about Bryce Harper's weight gain?
-- Scott N., Woodbridge, Va.
I think you are. When we see Harper during Spring Training next month, he will be in great shape. I never question this guy's work habits, and I'm expecting him to reach his peak in 2014.
If the Nationals give Espinosa or Jeff Kobernus a spot on the Opening Day roster, who would be the first player sent to Syracuse?
-- Will K., Washington
The Nationals are going to give Espinosa every chance to make the team, because he can play every infield position except first base, and I think he could play that position if given the chance. As far as Kobernus is concerned, the Nats consider him to be more of an outfielder than an infielder. Remember, most of his time with the big league club last season was as an outfielder.
Do you think the Nationals would move Ryan Zimmerman to first base and trade Adam LaRoche for a good starter or bullpen pitcher? They could move Anthony Rendon to third base.
-- Collin C., Langhorne, Pa.
Zimmerman will be at third base for a long time, and Rendon will remain at second base. The rotation and bullpen are strong entering the 2014 season. Adding Doug Fister made the rotation even stronger. I have faith that Ross Detwiler and Sammy Solis will add strength to the bullpen. I don't see a reason to trade LaRoche, who is one of the best defensive first basemen in club history.