(I'm reposting this comment I made on one of the recent stories at the suggestion of echigliak.)
It doesn’t sound like Dunn is the answer at 1B. I don’t think the Nats wanted to put him there anyway. Acta and/or (the dear departed) Bowden kept saying that they liked the idea of both Dunn and Nick Johnson in the line-up at the same time. If (when?) the injury bug strikes Johnson again, maybe the team can try out Josh Willingham at 1B. In the interview last night, he said that he played a few different positions in the minor leagues, including catcher. If he can play catcher and LF, he can probably play 1B. He would probably be better than Dunn.
This move would also clear out the “logjam” in the OF. Milledge, Dukes and Dunn are going to start. Willie Harris will see time in the OF and in the IF. Kearns could be a frequent late-game defensive replacement. Hard to see Pena getting much playing time. If Willingham can get some work at 1B this spring, he could get some starts in the OF and at 1B.
I’m really surprised at the timing of Shawn Hill’s release. The Nats’ brain trust seems to want Zimmermann to stay in the minors, at least for part of this year. Balester hasn’t been that impressive. Cabrera is still wild. Olsen has been adequate. Who are they going to start? Bergmann? Chico? Martis? They weren’t paying Hill that much money so why not keep him around? As I posted the other day, the Nats could have put Hill into the rotation until he ran into his first injury. That would have given some of the younger pitchers a chance to get more experience at AA or AAA. Then they could have come up in June or July while the Nats would have had a placeholder starter in Hill for a couple months. There wasn’t much risk in keeping Hill on the team. It’s not like he had a Kearns-type contract. I think Hill was going to make around $775,000 this year. While that’s a lot of money for the average joe, that’s not too much for a professional baseball player.
I was also surprised that Hill was released after pitching a solid one-inning the other day. Maybe the forearm pain returned and everyone is keeping quiet about it. Maybe they’re doing this to help Hill catch onto another team.