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12/6/07 Who Knows Where Jesus Flores Will Play In '08? Really Knows?

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     After looking at all the talk about the Washington Nationals desiring a veteran catcher through a trade or the free agent market, I concluded in yesterday's post, "What does seem certain though, in light of Brian Schneider's departure, is that Jesus Flores...will not be returning to the Minors in '08."

     So I must admit I was somewhat surprised when reading mlb.com's Bill Ladson's latest article at washington.nationals.mlb.com entitled, "Nationals make a splash at meetings" in which Mr. Ladson writes, under the heading "Unfinished Business" that:

          "The Nationals need to acquire a starting catcher, and it
          became very clear at the Meetings that they want Jesus
          Flores to learn his craft in the Minor Leagues."

     I began to wonder how I had formed the impression that the Nationals intended to keep Jesus Flores in the Majors, even though they didn't have to this season, after having had to keep the Rule 5 pick on the roster throughout the '07 season.

     So I went back to the articles that I'd been reading. In Barry Svrluga's Washington Post(washingtonpost.com) article entitled, "At Catcher, Nats Are Out of Position" Mr. Svrluga notes that Washington team officials don't yet know, "...who might be their front-line catcher in 2008," and Mr. Svrluga writes that in the Nationals search for a catcher:

          "The first option is to trade for a left-handed-hitting
          backup who might serve as a platoon partner with Flores
          but also be able to compete with him for playing time."

     Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Svrluga relays that Nationals GM Jim Bowden has stressed that, "Flores could end up as the starter in Washington, as a part-time player or even a full-time player at Class AAA."

     That might comes as news to Mark Zuckerman at the Washington Times(washingtontimes.com), who lists his projected Opening Day Lineup for the 2008 season in his article, "Getting things in order" as:

         "POTENTIAL 2008 LINEUP

          SS Cristian Guzman
          CF Lastings Milledge
          3B Ryan Zimmerman
          1B Nick Johnson or Dmitri Young
          RF Austin Kearns
          LF Wily Mo Pena or Elijah Dukes
          2B Ronnie Belliard
          C Jesus Flores"

     Flores, is of course, the only catcher on the 40 Man Roster at the moment, which could account for his inclusion in Mr. Zuckerman's list, but elsewhere on washingtontimes.com, in Mr. Zuckerman's "Chatter: A Nats Blog" he writes, "Finding another catcher to work with Jesus Flores is a top priority."

     Apparently, I'm not the only one who's confused about whether or not Jesus Flores will be on the Washington Nationals' Opening Day Roster. Will the Nationals sign a veteran to share time with Flores? Will Flores "learn his craft" in the Minors or split time in DC?...

     ...If Paul Lo Duca doesn't sign the rumored deal with Toronto, would he be a good fit for the Nationals? Is former Braves prospect Johnny Estrada headed to DC once the New York Mets officially part ways with the catcher? Is Gary Bennett available?

*Jesus Flores Status Confusion Links*

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Finding another catcher to work with Jesus Flores is a top priority" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071206&content_id=2320656&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Barry Svrluga's article, "At Catcher, Nats Are Out of Position" at washingtonpost.com:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120402266.html

Mark Zuckerman's article, "Getting things in order" at washingtontimes.com:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071205/SPORTS02/112050098/1026

Mark Zuckerman's post, "Major trade! ..." at Mr. Zuckerman's blog "Chatter: A Nats Blog":

http://video1.washingtontimes.com/chatter/2007/12/major_trade_mark_zuckerman.html