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What Happened To The Washington Nationals While Everyone Was Talking About Adam Dunn...

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ALSO RECENTLY PUBLISHED at Federalbaseball.com:

- e chigliak - "The Washington Nationals And The MLB Hot Stove: Adam Dunn Descends On DC."

- Dave from the Nats News Network - "Nats Ink Dunn: Confidence Boost For Ownership?"

What Are The DC Faithful Thinking? Check out the initial reactions to the Nationals signing Adam Dunn in a FANSHOT entitled:

- "Adam Dunn Signs With Washington Nationals".

Collin Balester's Chat With The Washington Post...

I managed to get a question through my iPhone to the Washington Post's chat with Washington Nationals' pitcher Collin Balester, (transcribed in an article entitled, "The Washington Nationals' Collin Balester"), where Balester was holding court this afternoon, so I asked the 22-year-old, right-handed soon-to-be second year-starter the first question that popped into my head (after I thought about which part of Jersey to represent...):

"Neptune, N.J.: Hi Collin, Ed from Federal Baseball here, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make between the minors and majors last season?"

Collin Balester, who figures to be in DC's '09 rotation unless something changes drastically this Spring, and who will be wearing the #49 in white, red or gray all season, (Sorry DJ!), responded promptly to my inquiry:

"I just had to realize that I belonged up there and I didn't have to try and do too much. Once you figure out that you just have to pitch the way you did to make it up there, I think you are fine."

The other highlights of the Post's chat with Collin Balester included his prediction that Nick Johnson would be the biggest surprise of the '09 season...(ed. note - "Obviously Balester was unaware of what would transpire later in the afternoon when the Nationals announced that they'd signed Dunn, and would look to deal Johnson.")...Balester's response when asked to predict who would be in the Nationals' starting rotation?:

"The top 5 pitchers at the end of spring training."

...and finally, a question out of Bradenton, Florida, which asks Collin Balester,

"What has been the biggest surprise about Bally's Blog? By the way, Gracie wants a new No. 49 jersey like DJ!"

Nice. Apparently, at least one Washington Post reader reads federalbaseball.com as well, with a nice reference to yesterday's post about the unexpected ramifications of blogging and changing your jersey number. That's 2 jerseys Balester's responsible for...Some accountability, please? Even with the # switch, with Balester writing his own well-received blog and participating in events with the DC Faithful like this, he's well on his way to becoming a fan favorite in the nation's capital.

USA TODAY Not Impressed With Nationals...

The latest newstand edition of the USA TODAY Sports Weekly's "NL Spring Training Preview" first mentions the Washington Nationals in the "MLB Report's Preseason Power Rankings", compiled by Stephen Borelli, who predicts that DC's favorite baseball team will once again finish 30th in the Majors out of 30 MLB teams, while the commentary on the Nationals, written by Paul White, asks:

"Can Ryan Zimmerman ask for another hitter in arbitration?"

This obviously went to press before the Nationals had acquired Adam Dunn, but does Dunn fill the void in the order, hitting in the clean-up spot and guaranteeing Ryan Zimmerman a better selection of pitches? MLB Network analyst Barry Larkin seems to think Dunn will be a great help to Zimmerman, telling MLB.com's Bill Ladson yesterday, in an article entitled, "Larkin, Boone praise Dunn signing", that he, "...believes Zimmerman will no longer have to carry the load of driving in most of the runs," with the result being, Mr. Larkin speculates:

"'You will see a new and improved Ryan Zimmerman, because I think there will be less pressure on him to be that RBI producing guy,' Larkin said."

In the profile of the Washington Nationals, USA TODAY Sports Weekly follows a disturbing trend amongst those writing about the Nationals' up and coming starter Jordan Zimmermann, that's right, they leave off the extra "n" at the end when "Paul White Predicts" that the, "...one bright star who emerges later in the season is rookie Jordan Zimmerman." It took me two months or so of writing his name frequently before I started to get it right, so federalbaseball.com will forgive Mr. White and the USA TODAY this once. Once.

Other noteable decisions/judgements by the USA TODAY Sports Weekly...

Using a confusing set of symbols, The USA TODAY writers list John Lannan and Scott Olsen as the only starters currently pencilled into the Nationals' rotation, and they give Lastings Milledge the starting spot in center while predicting that right field will be the place where a showdown between Austin Kearns and Elijah Dukes will happen, with the loser relegated to a part time/fourth outfielder role...Willingham, Milledge and Kearns??? But, they do list Dukes ahead of Kearns on their team depth chart...?

Federalbaseball.com Is Full Of Pessimists...POLL RESULTS...

Want to change your opinion? In the last POLL here at federalbaseball.com, which asked, "What Do You Expect The Washington Nationals To Do In '09?", 113 of 214 voters (or 53% of the voters) responded that, "Washington Will Finish 70-92?" The second place finisher in the poll? With 36 of 214 total votes, or 16% of the total vote, you, the federalbaseball.com readers said, "Washington Will Finish 81-81 Like Back In 2005", but all of those votes were cast before the Nationals added free agent outfielder (1B?) Adam Dunn's 40 HR's and 100 RBI's to their lineup, so I ask you again, have you changed your opinion of what the Washington Nationals will do in 2009? NEW POLL...