Inbox: How will Haren's rotation void be filled?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans' questions
With right-hander Dan Haren going on the disabled list, is it possible the Nationals will try and trade for left-hander Cliff Lee or another top-of-the-rotation pitcher near the Trade Deadline?
-- Noah L., Aldie, Va.
The Nationals would have to give up a top prospect or several players for Lee. In the past, they had to trade quite a bit when they acquired Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span. However, for now, I could see the Nationals going to the farm system and calling up a player such as Taylor Jordan, who is the leading candidate to replace Haren in the rotation. Taylor is having the best year of his professional career, going a combined 8-1 with a 0.95 ERA between Class A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
Does Wilson Ramos remind you a bit of Jesus Flores -- a promising young catcher who can't seem to stay off the disabled list?
-- Alex C., Montreal
I see your point. But unlike Flores, I don't see Ramos' stock dropping considerably. Ramos is really missed in that lineup and the Nationals can't wait for him to get back, which will be after the All-Star break. The Nationals feel he will improve the offense once he comes back.
Is there any chance we might see Ryan Zimmerman at second base?
-- Kenny L., Washington
This is a question that is always asked. Zimmerman is staying at third base and is not switching to first or second base. Zimmerman will be the first to say that his right shoulder is not 100 percent. In fact, he expects the shoulder to be in rehab mode for the rest of the season, but it will not keep him out of the lineup. Zimmerman's surgery on his AC joint was much more serious that anyone expected. That's why he is having problems throwing the baseball.
What do you think of the Nats' start this year, compared to last? Are they a stronger team?
-- Michael M., Stoney Creek, Ontario
Obviously, based on the record, last year's team performed better early on. Going into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Nationals need to acquire a bat more than they need a pitcher. They are hoping that Ramos and Bryce Harper will make a difference once they are off the disabled list. They also need a right-handed hitter off the bench.