Inbox: Add Clippard to rotation?

Inbox: Add Clippard to rotation?

Did the Nationals make a good trade for first baseman Nick Johnson? Why didn't Washington sign Orlando Hudson during the offseason? Those are two of the many questions fans have been asking. Here are some answers to their queries.

Johnson was a great player and a face of the franchise, but does Aaron Thompson have a chance to make as much of an impact as Johnson?
-- David W., Potomac, Md.

I think it's too early to say if Thompson will have an impact on the team. It's going to take a few years. At the same time, the Nationals are doing what team president Stan Kasten promised in 2006. The Nationals are stockpiling starting pitching and that is a good thing. No one could make that statement when the Nationals moved to Washington before the 2005 season.

Craig Stammen continues to struggle. They should put Tyler Clippard in the rotation and move Stammen to the bullpen. What are your thoughts?
-- Joshua, Puerto Rico

I'm going to give Stammen the benefit of the doubt because he is a young pitcher and is still learning. If this were a veteran like Tim Redding or Pedro Astacio, I would be all over him and agree with what you said.

What options do the Nats currently have at first base now that Johnson is gone?
-- Mike B., Washington, D.C.

Right now, Adam Dunn is the option at first base. This will be a two-month trial to show that he can play solid defense at first. I think he will do well at the position. But ask me this question again after the season. Plans may change.

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I'd like to know what you thought was Manny Acta's best and worst moves during his time with the Nats.
-- Alex C., Montreal

I think Acta's best decision was to put the young pitchers in the starting rotation this year. It's better than watching veterans struggle all season. His worst move was sticking with Austin Kearns too long. I think it was pretty clear two years ago that Kearns was not going to be a 40-homer guy nor the superstar that then-general manager Jim Bowden predicted for him. In my opinion, Josh Willingham should have been starting by May 1.

How does a player fail a physical for the Nationals and become an All-Star for the Dodgers? I'm talking about Hudson.
-- Peter R., Vancouver, BC Canada

That is a good question. When the Dodgers come to town in September, I'm going to talk to Hudson about the physical he took with the Nationals and sees what he says. It is strange.

It has been stated a few times that the Nats will be looking for a shortstop in the offseason, and that Cristian Guzman's defense has become suspect. Were the Nats shopping Guzman before the Trade Deadline?
-- Frank H., Washington, D.C.

The Nationals were shopping almost everybody on the team, but I think Guzman will be on the team the rest of this season and next year. The Nationals don't have a shortstop to replace him right now.

The scouting report on Guzman is still true. He doesn't move well to his left.

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