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1/23/08 Federal Baseball's Washington Nationals '08 Preview...The Pure Speculation Edition...

     Will Nick Johnson make it back in time for the start of the '08 season? In his last full season, Johnson hit .290 with 145 hits in 500 at bats, 100 runs scored, 46 doubles, 23 HR's, 77 RBI's, a .428 OBP and 15 errors in the field. Nick Johnson hasn't taken the field since September 23, 2006. With Johnson out for all of the '07 season, Dmitri Young hit .320 with 147 hits in 460 at bats, 57 runs scored, 38 doubles, 1 triple, (Really he did!), 13 HR's, 74 RBI's and a .378 OBP with 9 errors at first.

     Nick Johnson is going to turn 29 in August. DY turned 34 in October. Johnson is set to make $5.5 million in the second year of a 3-year, $16.9 million dollar deal that will pay him $5.5 more next season. DY is under contract for $5 million this season and $5 million more in '09 with an option for twenty-ten.

     Can the Nationals really be planning on committing $10.5 million dollars of what espn.go.com currently lists as a $37,347,500 dollar team payroll, on two first basemen? (Though espn.go.com is still labeling this the Nationals 2007 salaries here on 1/23/08, so...?)...Considering that even the $37 million-plus payroll currently ranks the Nationals 28th lowest of the 30 MLB teams...and with a new stadium...Why not?

     My prediction, though...which is of course pure speculation...Nick Johnson comes back healthy and his run production and high OBP end up earning him the starting spot over DY, but Johnson's spotty-injury-history inevitably justifies having both on the roster...the Long Shot...

     Baseball America's Aaron Fitt named OF/1B Chris Marrero, 19, the Nationals Top Prospect last November in his, "Washington Nationals: Top 10 Prospects", review, and MLB.com's Bill Ladson just wrote on washington.nationals.mlb.com, in an article entitled, "Mailbag: Predicting prospects' potential" that:

           "I would have to say that Chris Marrero is a can't-miss
           prospect...who most likely will be a first baseman."

      The Nationals are not shy about testing their young players in DC with Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Chico, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler and Justin Maxwell all rising quickly for looks at the Major League level, and I wouldn't be surprised if either Young or Johnson were dealt or injured, and Marrero was called-up for some time this season...(Marrero in '07 as an 18-year old- hit .275 with 25 doubles, 3 triples, 25 HR's and 88 RBI's at two Class-A stops.)...

...Bill Ladson at washington.nationals.mlb.com provided his opinion on the corner infield positions in early '08 in his article, "Around the Horn: Corner infielders", and Mr. Ladson mentions another "Long Shot" at first, who is already on the Nationals' roster...

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080108&content_id=2341607&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

*MORE DY/Nick Johnson Links*

Nick Johnson's 2006 Gamelog at yahoosports.com:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6401/gamelog;_ylt=AlaMrs96MpK3dWu3ztQI4E2FCLcF?year=2006

Dmitri Young's 2007 Gamelog at yahoosports.com:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5699/gamelog;_ylt=AmeAKI8uxoqe7qxpMlLYEGqFCLcF

Cot's Baseball Contracts at:

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_mlbcontracts_archive.html

espn.go.com's "Washington Nationals 2007 Salaries" at:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/salaries?team=was

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's "Washington Nationals: Top Ten Prospects":

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/265146.html

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Mailbag: Predicting prospects' potential" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080119&content_id=2351350&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Chris Marrero's career stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/M/Christopher-Marrero.shtml