The good feelings following a decent start and the arrival of Strasburg has rapidly dissipated. Much weaker attendance and MASN ratings going forward will affect revenue and possibly the ability of the ownership to spend money in optimal amounts next off-season. And if Bryce Harper is watching recent games (I would be if I were he), he may be reluctant to sign. In any case as a Washington baseball fan since the 1950s I have never been as discouraged as I am now. Perhaps this is because hope was raised and now shattered. I well know that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, but I now believe the first two months were the aberration and the last month and spring training games the reality. Short term they need to do something, if only to shake the players up from complacency and to keep faith with the fans. Here are my thoughts:
Nyjer Morgan: Despite occasional brilliance in the field and an obvious desire to win, he must be sat down or sent down. Pinch runner (with no default green 'stealing' light) and as an every third or fourth day replacement should be his status. He also needs intense fundamental baseball instruction esp. the mental aspects. He may have the dumbest baseball mentality I have every seen here, except perhaps E. Dukes. A weak hitter, with few walks, poor throwing arm, and many mental mistakes makes it clear he cannot be a chronic starter.
Ian Desmond: ditto for the most part, except he has a good arm. This SS experiment has failed, for the time being. A return to Syracuse is in order until he can make the routine plays, at a minimum.
Christian Guzman: Until he leaves after the season (very likely), he should return to shortstop. Hopefully Desmond or an acquisition can play SS next year.Nationals vs Braves boxscore
Second base: Give this job to Gonzales for awhile so the defense can improve.
Backup catcher: Nieves is not the answer, just another no hit AND no field player. Pudge needs to play less at his age in order to play better. The season is very long.
Proposed solution: Dunn has value and my feeling about him is that he contributes LESS than most believe. Too many unproductive outs (AKA strikeouts) and poor hitting average with RISP. So try to deal him for two of the following: solid defensive second baseman, backup catcher, another first baseman, or starting pitcher. Move Morse to first base (bakeup is Kennedy), Gonzales or new acquisition at second, Guzman at SS, outfield of Willingham (LF), Bernadino (CF), and other (RF). Other could be either a Syracuse callup or someone acquired for Dunn. Morse could be in RF when Kennedy plays 1B.
Riggleman needs to show he is out of patience and shake things up a bit. Rizzo needs to deal Dunn to shore up at least two defensive holes.
They may still lose 100 games even if I had my way, but at least it might be respectable. Last night's (Monday) game at Atlanta following the three at Baltimore were not just bad but were an embarrassment.