The Sporting News has its Sporting News 2008 Baseball Preview on the newsstands and after predicting that the Washington Nationals will finish fourth in the NL East (behind the Braves, Phillies and Mets, first to third), the Sporting News' Nationals' team profile presents a feature entitled, "View From The Other Dugout", in which, "...a rival scout sizes up the Nationals," and weighs in, in the last paragraph of the column, on the matter of Johnson v. Young, also known as the "Nationals' Fight for First":
"If Nick Johnson is healthy, I'd start him at first and slide Dmitri Young back into a bench role. I know he [Young] had a great year last year, but you've got to play Johnson if he can go."
Who Will Decide Who Starts At First in DC?
MLB.com's Bill Ladson's most recent edition of, "Mailbag: Too many catchers?" at the Nationals' official site responds to a fans' question about who will be deciding who starts at first, GM Jim Bowden or Manager Manny Acta?, by writing:
"...Acta also has said that Young is the first baseman entering Spring Training. Bowden, however, helps Acta with some decisions -- and rightfully so."
Dmitri Young doesn't seem ready to settle into a bench role, in fact Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga writes in a recent, "Nationals Journal" blog entry entitled, "Da Meat Is in Da House", that:
"Young, who, incidentally, appears to have lost some weight, said what is obvious: "We both deserve to start, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
The Sporting News says Nick Johnson starts...to paraphrase Nationals' GM Jim Bowden, the job is Dmitri Young's to lose, and Young shows up in camp slimmer and trimmer and looking to start at first, while Johnson's impressed everyone with the progression of his recovery...
The Nationals' First Base Question remains unsolved for yet another day?
(The voting to date at federalbaseball.com, in response to the question, "If the Nationals Were To Trade A First Baseman...Who Should It Be?"
(as of 1:00 am 2/21):
Nick Johnson- 14 votes- 45%
Dmitri Young- 17 votes- 54%
Updating the last edition of the federalbaseball.com feature "TOP 5 Reasons YOU Can STILL Hate THE METS!! Reason #9...Everyone Wants To Be J-Roll," in which the Mets' Carlos Beltran boldly predicted, "So this year, to Jimmy Rollins. We are the team to beat,"...Philadelphia's response came today in an article by Ken Mandel at MLB.com entitled, "Rollins says not so fast to Mets", in which the Phillies' shortstop Jimmy Rollins is quoted saying in response to Beltran's boast:
"...there are four other teams in our division who are going to make sure that doesn't happen..."
MLB.com's Mark Bowman gets the Atlanta Braves perspective from outfielder Jeff Francouer in Mr. Bowman's article, "Francoeur sees Braves in title hunt", in which "Frenchy" states:
"I'm not going to sit here and make predictions, but I feel like our team is just as good as the other two teams in our division."
Well...at least Jimmy Rollins recognizes that there are four other teams in the NL East along with his Phillies. As for Frenchy! Maybe someone from the Nationals or Marlins will step up to remind him that there are FIVE teams in the NL EAST!!!