12/23/07 The Washington Nationals New Year's Wish List...

The top three needs for the Washington Nationals' aught-eight campaign...

1) One More Starting Pitcher...

     The name Livan Hernandez has been mentioned, Jason Jennings, Bartolo Colon, Mark Prior, Kris Benson...the Nationals have traded for two outfielders, signed bench players, relievers, a starting catcher...and they've parted with a veteran outfielder, a beloved catcher and several prospects...

     Now how about spending a little of that new stadium cash on a reliable starter...a two-hundred inning arm, a veteran staff presence, the kind of starter that stops a losing streak...a guaranteed qualilty start...Why not just bring Livan Hernandez home and have it done with...

     So far it's probably Shawn Hill, John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico and one(Really, likely eventually all...) of the following...John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Tyler Clippard, Joel Hanrahan, Tim Redding, Garrett Mock...That's, if I had to guess...

2)  A Leadoff Hitter...

     A leadoff hitter?...Step right up and lead off for the Nationals. Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, Ronnie Belliard, Lastings Milledge, Willie Harris?...actually those are probably the only options...Has anyone ever thought about Brandon Watson in this role...What? Tried it? Alright...

     The outfield situation is unsettled, and so is the infield, thus the batting order remains a mystery...Who leads off? Who's second, Milledge or Paul Lo Duca? Is Milledge guaranteed to be starting in center? Nick Johnson or Dmitri Young? How's Zimmerman's wrist? Heard it all before? The questions remain unanswered...

3)     A Copy of the as-yet unpublished memoir, "Lenny Harris, Professional Hitter. A Survival Guide For Major League Batters", for every batter in the Nationals' organization...

     As soon as Mr. Harris gets around to writing this it will be an invaluable resource...Celebrity testimonies from Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena will describe how Harris taught Pena how to hit the other way...and helped Kearns relocate his swing...Harris also recounts how he collected the most pinch hits in MLB History, and explains how his approach at the plate kept him in the Majors for eighteen total seasons...

     What can Lenny Harris due with an entire season working on Wily Mo Pena? Can DY and Belliard provide the same output as last season? Can Zimmerman become a .300 hitter? Will Paul Lo Duca's invulnerability to the strikeout help produce runners and runs? Can Jesus Flores hit for a higher average than Brian Schneider? Another full year in Lenny Harris' hands and anything's possible...

*Chad Cordero remains the Nationals' Flat-Brimmed Closer through Christmas...I must have been on the NICE list...*
     

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