1/31/2014 11:54 A.M. ET
Inbox: Span satisfactory in center field?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from Nationals fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Even though the Nationals are confident with Denard Span in center field and they have strong center fielders in the Minors, is it possible that they might try to get Matt Kemp at the Trade Deadline or next offseason?
-- Noah L., Aldie, Va.
No chance. I don't see Kemp coming to Nationals, because of that lucrative contract he signed a couple of years ago. Plus, he has been injury-prone lately. The Nats will stick with Span, and we'll see how Brian Goodwin and Michael Taylor pan out. I expect those two prospects to be even better in 2014.
The Nationals still have bullpen questions that were not addressed during the offseason. Do you think the Nats will sign another lefty for the bullpen? Or will they use Ross Detwiler in relief?
-- Shane C., Fairfax, Va.
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The best thing I can say is, wait and see. While Detwiler is a candidate to be a starter, it would not surprise me if he ends up in the bullpen. If Detwiler wants to be a starter, he has to use his curveball more often. Remember, Sammy Solis is also a candidate to be part of the relief corps. And don't forget about Xavier Cedeno, who did a great job as a lefty specialist during the month of September.
How is Adam LaRoche's health going into Spring Training? He looked as if he lost a tremendous amount of weight last year.
-- Fred M., Bethesda, Md.
Last season, LaRoche's weight loss was caused by the medication he takes for attention deficit disorder (ADD). I'm sure he has figured out the medication, and I expect him to have a solid season and win a Gold Glove Award in 2014.
Any chance Nationals could bring back Jesus Flores as a backup to Wilson Ramos?
-- Louis G., Washington D.C.
I don't see it happening. Remember, the Nationals had a problem with the way Flores called games, and that's why the team acquired Kurt Suzuki from the A's in August 2012. The Nats are still looking for a backup catcher entering Spring Training, but Flores is not on the radar.
I sense a double standard: why give continued chances to Danny Espinosa but essentially shut out Drew Storen? Am I missing something? Similar struggles, but at least Drew fought his way back to the Majors.
-- Rafael B., Miami
You are missing something. Storen hasn't been shut out. Unless he is traded, I expect Storen to make the team out of Spring Training and become a setup man. Espinosa has a lot to prove, especially on offense. It would not surprise me if Espinosa was traded before the regular season started. I just don't see him as a backup player for the Nationals.