Inbox: Is Zimmerman's future at first?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans' questions
Do you think the Nationals could trade Adam LaRoche, move Ryan Zimmerman to first base, Anthony Rendon to third base and sign a free-agent second baseman like Robinson Cano?
-- Ryan P., Woodbridge, Va.
I don't put anything past general manager Mike Rizzo. Zimmerman is having a tough time throwing the ball because of the surgery he had to repair the acromioclavicular joint in his right shoulder. If this keeps up, the Nats may not have a choice but to put Zimmerman at first base and trade LaRoche. In that scenario, Rendon most likely would go to third base, his natural position. But I'm not sure about Cano. Ask me this question after the season comes to an end.
I almost fell off my chair reading your answer about Danny Espinosa in your last Inbox. Too good to remain in a slump? He is a career .230 hitter and perennially among the league leaders in strikeouts. He is above average defensively, but he is below average offensively.
-- David F., Seaford, Del.
Keep in mind that Espinosa has been injured since September of last season, and he should have said something about his shoulder and wrist. Instead, he kept playing, which didn't make sense to me. When healthy, I believe Espinosa can be an above-average hitter. True, he is not having a good year with Triple-A Syracuse, but it's reasonable to wonder whether he's still not right physically.
I believe Espinosa will get his career straightened out once he is healthy. But I don't see him playing every day for the Nationals anymore. If anything, Espinosa could be a backup second baseman.
Is it me, or do the Nationals not know what to do with Denard Span? He has a low on-base percentage and he hasn't been stealing many bases.
-- Alex C., Montreal
I get a lot of questions about Span. First of all, he is a great guy and one of the best defensive center fielders I've seen in recent years. But I often wonder if the Nats will go after a center fielder after the season, because Span is not the leadoff hitter they expected. Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, -Choo, for example, is a potential free agent after the season. Choo has a high on-base percentage. It would not surprise me if Washington targeted him.
Do you think Drew Storen will be traded? His relationship with the Nationals doesn't seem the same since he blew the save last year against the Cardinals during the National League Division Series.
-- George P., Washington
Let's make this clear: The Nats respect Storen, but he hasn't been pitching well this season. The stats back it up. He is trying to work out his problems in the Minor Leagues. At the same time, there are some teams that need a closer, and I think Storen will become a quality closer again someday.
Will the Nationals consider going after Michael Morse when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year? He would have helped the Nats' offense this year, splitting time between the outfield and first base. What do you think?
-- Joseph F., Eynon, Pa.
I don't see how he could have helped the Nats, because he spent a lot of time on the disabled list this year. Also, I don't see Morse coming back to Washington unless he is a bench player. Athletically, I don't see him in the Nationals' plans as far as playing the outfield. Morse is an excellent first baseman, but I think we could see Zimmerman playing the position next year.