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The Biggest Question Of The Spring For The Washington Nationals Is...?

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Who Are The Washington Nationals Going To Trade?

When I asked you, the Federal Baseball.com readers, who was in your '09 outfield, you voted Josh Willingham out in favor of the then-newly-signed Adam Dunn in left, Lastings Milledge in center and Elijah Dukes in right, by a wide margin, with 57 of 142 votes cast, (Willingham in left with Milledge and Dukes was the only other OF alignment with any significant support), and it seems the Nationals are now thinking along the same lines, with MLB.com's Bill Ladson mentioning Willingham as a potential trade candidate, though in the same article entitled, "Willingham may be odd man out", "Acting" GM Mike Rizzo is quoted as saying that he sees the 30-year-old Willingham, "as an everyday outfielder", and Mr. Ladson writes that Mr. Rizzo, "...did not mention Willingham as trade bait."

But, Stan Kasten said he was taking calls about trades within days of the Former Nationals' GM resigning, and Mike Rizzo reportedly picked up where Mr. Kasten left off, saying several times in print that he'd had daily discussions about potential trades, but unless it's Nick Johnson, or some of the second tier of Major-League-ready, but maybe-not-here players like Kory Casto, or Roger Bernadina, who could it be?...The expensive Austin Kearns? Elijah Dukes? Or maybe Ronnie Belliard, who signed with DC before the '07 season because he found no market for his services even after he'd played 14 games in the playoffs with the World Series-winning Cardinals back in 2006?

Washington Post writer Tracee Hamilton, in a "Morning Reading" post at the Nationals Journal pointed to a Florida Today article entitled, "Outfielders work to catch on" by Mark Decotis which quotes DC Manager Manny Acta, who thinks he can work all of the outfielders in, saying, "'We can rotate them and get enough at bats for all of them once we get that number down to whoever's going to come with us to D.C.'" Does anyone expect Wily Mo Pena to make this team? Willie Harris isn't hitting yet, but he's going to be filling in everywhere coming off the bench, and Austin Kearns is well-liked and finally healthy, not to mention nearly untradeable at $8M plus another year at $10M or a $1M dollar buyout, and he's coming of an injury-filled season in which he hit just .217 in 86 games...which isn't too appealing...

Asked by MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an interview entitled, "Q&A with Mike Rizzo", if the Nationals were thinking about trading from their abundance of outfielders Mr. Rizzo responded that the Nationals, "'...are not going to give away an outfielder'", but will instead, "'...do our due dligence and get a player who is going to impact us this year and throughout the next few years.'"

Nick Johnson's healthy...Austin Kearns had a blister, but he's back and he's already been spectacular defensively, while Elijah Dukes hit a home run the other day that might still be rising...Adam Dunn will return to the Nationals after the WBC, and that's when I'd really expect something to happen, since Dunn is going to have to get time in in left field or at first, time to get used to playing with the rest of the Nationals, so it would seem that at that point, something would have to give...or someone would have to go? 

STRASBURG FILES...

Washington's "Acting" GM Mike Rizzo, according to Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling in an article entitled, "Rizzo steps up to the plate", is "plenty familiar" with San Diego State University's starter Stephen Strasburg, whose next scheduled start is Friday against UNLV at home in Tony Gwynn Stadium. Strasburg is (3-0) after 3 starts with a 1.77 ERA, and 45 K's in 20.1 IP so far this season, so he's obviously being watched by the GM of the team with the #1 pick, but Mr. Rizzo's assessment puts Strasburg, "...in a special category of amateur pitchers", and he thinks Washington is, "fortunate to have a guy that sticks out as a first round pick. He's a unique talent." 

Game Thread - Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - 1:05 pm EST.

DC's Own DC Daniel Cabrera's going to get the start tomorrow afternoon against Atlanta after having allowed 8 hits, 3 runs, (2 earned) and 2 walks in 2 starts and his first 4.0 innings pitched with the Nationals. The Braves announced, in an article by MLB.com writer Todd Zolecki entitled, "Sammons' two homers spark Braves", that Jair Jurrjens will get the start against the Nationals, with, "...closer Mike Gonzalez and highly regarded prospect Kris Medlen" expected to pitch. Medlen, a 10th Round pick in 2006, was ranked 9th in the Braves' system in Baseball America's Bill Balew's list of the, "Top 10 Prospects: Atlanta Braves", which was published in December of '08. 

Nationals vs Jair Jurrjens...and Spring Training #'s...

Roger Bernadina vs Jurrjens - 1 for 2, 1 3B, 1 RBI. Spring '09 - 4 for 19, .211 AVG, 3 2B, 1 RBI. 

Cristian Guzman vs Jurrjens - 2 for 11, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI. Spring '09 - 8 for 24, .333 AVG, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI. 

Willie Harris vs Jurrjens - 4 for 9, 1 3B, 2 RBI's. Spring '09 - 1 for 14, .071 AVG.

Ryan Langerhans vs Jurrjens - 2 for 8, 2 2B. Spring '09 - 1 for 10, .100 AVG.

Ryan Zimmerman vs Jurrjens - 3 for 9. Spring '09 - 7 for 20, 1 2B, 3 RBI's. 

Nationals vs Braves - 1:05 pm EST...Who's Following The Nationals?