The Nationals are 54-64 entering Tuesday's action against the Phillies, and fans want to know what Washington can do to get better in the future. Here are some answers to your questions.
Now that Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena has cleared waivers, will the Nationals attempt to acquire him?
-- Pat R., Oakton, Va.
I don't put anything past general manager Jim Bowden when it comes to acquiring Pena, who played for Bowden in Cincinnati. But I was told through sources that the Nationals want to acquire Pena cheaply because he is having a bad year.
What are the Nationals' plans for veteran pitchers such as Mike Bacsik, Micah Bowie and Tim Redding? Should we expect to see them in the starting rotation next year?
-- John A., Fredericksburg, Va.
When it comes to the rotation, I don't see Bacsik or Bowie as part of the future. The Nationals are committed to young players such as Shawn Hill and Matt Chico. As far as Redding goes, he has been the most pleasant surprise. He is my comeback player of the year on the pitching side. I would not be surprised if the Nationals kept Redding instead of John Patterson to be that veteran presence.
Is Alex Escobar ever going to return to the Major Leagues?
-- Alex R., Washington, D.C.
I don't know, because he is still having injury problems. I'm going to be honest about this. I think it's time to cut the cord on Escobar. There is no question Escobar is a talented player, but how many years do you wait for him to get healthy and have a breakout year? The future is bright for the Nationals. It's time for the Nationals to move on and look for a talented and healthy outfielder via trade or free agency.
What's the status of pitcher Jerome Williams?
-- Tim, H., San Francisco
He was playing for Double-A Harrisburg and was released last week.
Now that the Nats have locked up Dmitri Young for at least a couple more years, what is the purpose of keeping Nick Johnson?
-- Aidan E., Bethesda, Md.
Have a question about the Nationals?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
The purpose of keeping Johnson is that he can hit, and the Nationals need offense in the worst way. It's difficult to see the Nationals winning a championship with this starting eight. The plan is to have Young play left field and have Johnson return to first base next year.
A Nationals fan speaks out:
As an old catcher myself, I agree that Brian Schneider has been a major part of the improvement the pitching staff. Good quality catchers do just that. However, I feel that manager Manny Acta should bench him immediately and give Jesus Flores more time behind the plate. It's clear that Jesus should be the starter for the Nats. He just needs to play more and sit less.
-- Jamie L., Waldorf, Md.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.