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Federal Lost Washington Nationals Interview.

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(ed. note - "In late August, I conducted an interview via email with a writer from a national publication which never made it into print. I came across it again while looking through an old email exchange and thought it might be interesting to look back and see what my thinking was then...and make snarky comments about my own answers...")

With the signing of Stephen Strasburg now complete, what is the outlook for the 2010 Nationals?

There’s a core of a competitive team now with Ryan ZimmermanJosh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Jesus Flores (if healthy), Elijah DukesJohn Lannan and now Stephen Strasburg. But Strasburg’s young, and relatively inexperienced, as are most of the Nationals’ pitchers, like Ross Detwiler, Collin BalesterShairon Martis and Strasburg’s fellow ‘09 1st Round pick, future-closer Drew Storen. I expect we’ll see an improved, competitive, .500 team in 2010, but watch out in 2011 and 2012.

(ed. note - "Would you believe 2013?")

Did you expect the team to sign Strasburg or did you expect the deadline to pass with no deal made?

Let’s just say my Strasburg #37 Nationals name and number t-shirt arrived in the mail long before the deadline. The Nationals needed Stephen Strasburg to add some legitimacy to their organization and assure the fanbase they could sign the best talent available in the draft, and Strasburg needed to get his career started.

(ed. note - "No change of opinion here, Strasburg was dominant in the AFL, and outside of the injuries, continued to impress...If Tommy Hanson started in the Minors for Atlanta after winning the AFL MVP (the first time a pitcher had done so, what are the chances Strasburg starts in the DC rotation?")

Since the all-star break, the Nationals are 17-14. What has been the biggest reason for the turnaround?

Nyjer Morgan? The Nationals were searching for a strong defensive center fielder for several years, with no luck, and they needed a leadoff hitter who could get on base, steal bases and create offense. They got all of those things when they traded for Nyjer Morgan, and there’s been a noticeable difference in the club since he arrived.

(ed. note - "Judging by how the season went when Morgan exited the lineup, I think I'll still agree with myself that he was the catalyst for some of the positive changes that occured after DC GM Mike Rizzo acquired Morgan...a full season with Morgan at center should be a vast improvement over starting last season with Milledge in center.")

What are your impressions of Jim Riggleman as manager?

I don’t know what Jim Riggleman’s done, or if it was some issue the team had with Manny Acta, but they’re a different team under Riggleman. He challenged the team early, in an oft-mentioned locker room tirade, and he told them at one point that they had to play better out of respect for fans who were paying to watch them, and the team’s responded to the call for accountability. I liked Acta and didn’t think the Nationals should have given up on him so quickly, but the decision seems to have been the right one.

(ed.  note - "I guess Riggleman impressed the Nationals too...either that or they see someone becoming available in the next few years that they plan on wooing when the time is right...?")

What are the chances of both Riggleman and Mike Rizzo shedding the interim tags to their positions?

I’m not even sure Mike Rizzo will still be the "Acting" GM when you get these answers. Rumors are swirling around DC as I write this and several sources have Mike Rizzo on his way out any day now, much to my disappointment. I think Jim Riggleman’s going to have to be pretty spectacular the rest of the way to be given the full-time gig. Much like his experience in Seattle last season, he’ll step in and stabilize a struggling team, only to be passed up for a big name that becomes available in the offseason.

(ed. note - "As we all know now, the rumors and unnamed sources were all wrong, Rizzo got the job...and I was wrong too, I thought all along that a more attractive candidate would present himself this winter, but Rizzo chose to stick with Riggleman...we'll see if that was a good idea in a few months...")

What other positions might the Nationals need to upgrade to be competitive?

I think the Nationals desperately need middle infield help with Cristian Guzman in the last year of his contract in 2010 and Alberto Gonzalez underwhelming so far when given the chance to secure a starting job at second. They need a long-term solution at first, since I can’t see Adam Dunn playing in the National League too much longer, and they really need bullpen help since I don’t know how long you can rely on the Ron Villones and Mike MacDougals of the world.

(ed. note - "Middle infield still not settled...Dunn in last year of deal...Rizzo still looking for bullpen help...I hope Storen makes the pen, and along with Tyler Clippard, MacDougal, Villone (if he's brought back), Bergmann, etc. can help get the team off to a much better start next season than the Hanrahan-led pen did...")

How much of a blow to the team is the loss of Jordan Zimmermann?

Zimmermann was the top prospect in the Nationals’ system heading into the season, and he emerged as a legit major leaguer who was penciled in at the top of the rotation for the next few years in most people’s minds, so it’s a huge blow. The Nationals have stockpiled pitching in the Draft, but Zimmermann was clearly one of the best pitchers they had developed and now he’s out until 2011. It’s devastating. 

(ed. note - "Ahhh, I still don't want to talk about Zimmermann...can't wait til he comes back...Strasburg, Zimmermann, Detwiler, Balester,'s the wave of the future...")