Mailbag: Looking at Lannan's future

Mailbag: Looking at Lannan's future

The Nationals finished the 2008 season in fifth place, with a 59-102 record, and fans want to know what Washington can do to get better next season. Here are more answers to your questions.

You seem sold on John Lannan as a big part of the Nats' future. I feel that he is another Jamie Moyer. What is special about Lannan?
-- Steve L., New York

What is wrong with being compared with the Phillies left-hander? Lannan should be honored. I like Lannan's makeup. This is one guy who is more into team victories than his own numbers. It also helps that he had 23 quality starts last year. I would not be surprised if he eventually became the Nationals' all-time leader in victories.

General manager Jim Bowden has relied heavily on former Reds players. Do you think he will acquire more Cincinnati talent this offseason?
-- Steve I., Bethesda, Md.

There are a lot of people in baseball and the media who believe Bowden wants nothing but Reds, but if you look at his record with the Nationals, there aren't that many former Reds who played regularly on the field. As far as the position players go, you have Jose Guillen, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Dmitri Young. Pitching-wise, you have Hector Carrasco and Ryan Wagner. That's not the entire Reds roster during Bowden's time in Cincinnati.

As he has done in the past, Bowden will go after the best players available this offseason.

What is the possibility of Mark Teixeira ending up with the Nationals? What kind of options do you think they have?
-- Kristen L., Rockville, Md.

I assume the Nationals would have to break the bank to sign Teixeira, and I don't see them doing that. I think they have to trade for a first baseman, such as the Brewers' Prince Fielder.

What are the plans for Wily Mo Pena? Is he going to play every day in 2009, or will he be traded?
-- David M., Woodbridge, Conn.

Have a question about the Nationals?
Bill LadsonE-mail your query to Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
First Name, Last Initial:


Email Address:


That's one of the burning questions for the offseason. First of all, there are team and player options involved for next year. It is doubtful that the club will pick up the $5 million option, but Pena will pick up his $2 million.

To be honest, I don't know where Pena will fit in. I don't see him as a regular outfielder or a bench player for the Nationals, but it will be tough to trade him, because he is coming off shoulder surgery and had a bad year with the bat.

Everyone is talking about Anderson Hernandez and Emilio Bonifacio at second, but neither of them has the experience that Ronnie Belliard has.
-- Dustin C., Halifax, Nova Scotia

There is no question that Belliard has been a valuable player the last two years, but this team needs speed in the worst way, and I think -- for now -- Hernandez needs to play because of his speed. I also think Hernandez is a better defensive second baseman than Belliard.

With the Nationals needing some power from the left side, what about signing Jason Giambi?
-- Chris H., Fountain Hill, Pa.

I would be shocked if the Nationals signed Giambi. Though Giambi has a high on-base percentage and hits home runs, he is not a good first baseman. The Nationals don't need another DH on the roster; they need people who can catch the ball.

What are Nationals going to do at catcher? I'm sure Jesus Flores will be healthy for next season, but we saw some talent in Luke Montz. With a shot at more playing time, could Montz be the No. 1 catcher?
-- Justin R., Lafayette, La.

Montz has come a long way, but there's no chance he will be the No. 1 catcher. That position is set. Flores will be the starter, and Wil Nieves will return as the backup.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.