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Inbox: Is 'pen too crowded with Soriano?

Why do the Nationals need another closer in Rafael Soriano -- an ex-Yankee at that? It seems like Washington takes all of Scott Boras' clients and puts them on its roster.
-- Beth B., Virginia

It's a stretch to say the Nationals have all of Boras' clients. However, it shows that Boras represents talented players like Soriano and Jayson Werth, and the Nats are willing to spend the money to get them.

Let's not forget the bullpen imploded in the National League Division Series, allowing 16 runs against the Cardinals. By adding Soriano, Washington strengthened its relief corps and increased the chances of going deeper into the postseason.

Does the Nationals' front office regret not making Edwin Jackson a qualifying offer? It seems he would have signed elsewhere and the Nats would have received a compensation pick that would help the farm system.
-- Andrew, Washington

The answer is no. Jackson might have taken the one-year, $13.5 million offer. Besides, the Nationals were looking for an upgrade, and they feel they have a better pitcher in Dan Haren.

I don't think the Nats are that concerned about their farm system. If so, they would have avoided signing Soriano. Here is what general manager Mike Rizzo said about surrendering the pick for Soriano: "The Draft pick is important. But picking at the end of the Draft -- where we are this year -- we examined the Draft pool and felt where we were picking and the talent pool that was out there ... it was a good time for us to forfeit the pick. It's never easy, because [the Draft] is where our bread and butter is. We felt the best strategy for us to win now and in the near future was to forgo the pick and get the talent."

If there was one thing that could hold the Nationals back from winning the World Series this year, what would it be?
-- Cameron Eck, Washington

Injuries could stop the Nats. They have to stay healthy all year. Like I said many times, they are the best team in the NL East entering the 2013 season. Whether they can beat teams like the Giants, Dodgers or Reds remain to be seen. Those teams are strong as well.

Is it true that the Nationals are interested in Kyle Lohse and plan to put Ross Detwiler in the bullpen?
-- Mike R., Arlington, Va.

Considering they had interest in Javier Vazquez, it would not surprise me if the Nats would have interest in Lohse. But I can't see either pitcher coming to Washington without a guarantee they would be in the rotation. I can't see them signing Minor League contracts. I can't see manager Davey Johnson putting Detwiler in the bullpen. Johnson has often told me that Detwiler is a valuable starter.

Would Mark DeRosa be a viable managerial candidate for the Nationals in 2014?
-- Alex G., Silver Spring, Md.

Wow, that's a good one. I never heard DeRosa say he would like to manage, but he would make a great manager or coach if he wanted to do so. Even though he did not play many games for Washington in 2012, DeRosa had a great influence on players such as Roger Bernadina, Tyler Moore and Danny Espinosa. It will be interesting to see what happens after Johnson retires.

After he was acquired from the Athletics for Michael Morse, where does A.J. Cole fall on the Nationals' list of prospects?
-- Jack, Indianapolis

According to, Cole ranks third on the Nats' prospects list despite having an up-and-down season. Rizzo said he would not have made the trade if Cole wasn't involved.

What did you think of what the Nationals received for Morse? Could they have gotten more -- a Major League lefty reliever in addition to a starting prospect? Is the problem that Morse only had a total of two good seasons?
-- Paul F., Arlington Va.

I thought the Nationals made a great deal. The way their roster looked before the trade, the Nats didn't need a Major League player, except for a situational left-hander. But they needed to add to their Minor League system. And Washington could get a situational lefty via Minor League free agency, which is what the club did by signing Bill Bray.

Washington Nationals, Bill Bray, Ross Detwiler, Dan Haren, Rafael Soriano, Jayson Werth