Inbox: How does Marrero fit into Nats' plans?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from Nationals fans
What is the status of Chris Marrero? Does he figure to contribute in the Major Leagues at all this year?
-- Brendan W., Washington
With the 25-man roster pretty much set, I don't see how he fits in with the Nationals this year. We all know that Tyler Moore is going to be the backup first baseman and corner outfielder. Injuries have curtailed Marrero's progress, and he missed a lot of time last year because of hamstring issues. It would not surprise me if the Nats tried to trade him during Spring Training.
Given Danny Espinosa's torn rotor cuff and disappointing second half last season, is there any chance Steve Lombardozzi will become the Opening Day starting second baseman?
-- Lee, Gainesville, Va.
Manager Davey Johnson is going to give Espinosa every chance to prove himself during Spring Training, as he really believes in Espinosa's abilities. Espinosa would have to be really hurting before Lombardozzi could become the starting second baseman. Let's see what happens during Spring Training.
Do you think Johnson will sit Espinosa more often this season because of his injury?
-- Andrew F., Bristow, Va.
Knowing Espinosa the way I do, he is not going to let that happen. I'm amazed that he missed only two games last year -- that tells you the willpower he has. Espinosa will find a way to get better without making things worse.
What role do you foresee Christian Garcia playing this year?
-- John K., Bethesda, Md.
I know there is talk about him beginning the season in the Minor Leagues as a starter, but I would be shocked if that's the case. Garcia did pretty well as a late-inning reliever last year, and I see him in that same role this year. I don't see Johnson letting him go to the Minor Leagues to start the season.
Assuming 2013 is Johnson's final year, do you think his replacement will come from inside or outside the organization?
-- Andrew E., New York
It's too early to predict, but remember this: Johnson will help general manager Mike Rizzo decide on his successor. I don't know what Rizzo's thoughts are, but it seems that Johnson loves to promote from within. Look at the coaching staff: Most came from the team's Minor League system.
After Adam LaRoche's contract runs out, could Ryan Zimmerman move across the diamond to first base and let Anthony Rendon play third?
-- Matthew D., Washington
I expect Zimmerman to be at third base for a long time, so I expect Rendon to play somewhere else – second base, maybe first. But let's see if Rendon can stay healthy before we think about moving players around. As you know, Rendon has had health issues the last two years.
What are the chances of the Nats opening the season with Bryce Harper in right field and Jayson Werth in left?
– Rick T., St. Albans, Vt.
I have not heard from Johnson yet, but I think it will be Harper in left and Werth in right. Based on what I have seen, Harper looks more comfortable in left. I don't see a reason to switch Werth, as he is an above-average fielder in right.