Do you think Anthony Rendon will be in the regular lineup in 2014, or is there a possibility of him being traded?
-- Donna L., Chambersburg, Pa.
I don't know yet. On Oct. 10, I said that if the Nationals want to acquire a pitcher such as Rays left-hander David Price, they may have to trade young talent such as Rendon. As of now, he is the regular second baseman, but things could change after the Winter Meetings.
What do you think about Drew Storen's future with the Nationals? And with that said, what do you think the Nats could get back in a trade?
-- Greg S., Coquitlam, Canada
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I'd say it's less than 50 percent that Storen will stay with the Nationals. While I think Storen would do a great job as a setup man for Washington, there are other teams like the Tigers who are looking for a closer. If the Nats want to acquire an ace like Max Scherzer, they may have to trade Storen. If Storen were to be traded, he would likely go in a package with a bunch of players.
Do you think the Nationals will go after free-agent lefty Eric O'Flaherty to improve their bullpen depth? O'Flaherty was impressive with the Braves, and left-handed relief was one of the Nats' pitfalls last year.
-- Josh L., Montclair, Va.
O'Flaherty is coming off Tommy John surgery. If this were three years ago, I would say the Nationals might take a chance on an injured player like O'Flaherty. Remember, in early 2010, they took a chance on Chien-Ming Wang, who was coming off shoulder surgery, in hopes that he would be healthy again. That didn't pan out. But the Nats are looking to win now. I would think they would want a healthier pitcher going into the season.
Wouldn't a bench of Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore, Zach Walters and Scott Hairston give the Nationals a balance of lefty/righty bats and much more field flexibility than they have had in recent seasons?
-- Kermit S., Gettysburg, Pa.
Based on who you have, there might not be enough power on the bench. Keep in mind that the Nationals are looking for a fourth outfielder who is left-handed with power. They are looking for a backup catcher who can hit a little as well and can replace Wilson Ramos if he can't play for a lengthy period because of injuries.
Reportedly the Nats are looking for an elite starter, and it's been said that Scherzer is a better fit than Price because of Mike Rizzo's history with Scherzer. I don't understand why a relationship with the general manager makes a player or manager the best choice. What does liking him or knowing him have to do with it? Shouldn't the choice be made by determining who is the best pitcher for the Nats?
-- Bethann G., Va.
It helps that Rizzo knows Scherzer because Rizzo drafted the right-hander and watched him develop over the years. It doesn't hurt that Rizzo has a great relationship with agent Scott Boras. So if the Nationals traded for Scherzer, there is a good chance he would stay in Washington past 2014, when he would become a free agent.
As far as Price goes, I'm sure the Nats have had a hoard of scouts watching him over the last few years. Like Scherzer, it's going to take a lot to acquire Price.
With Adam LaRoche having a bad season at the plate, do you think the Nationals will end up trading him along with possibly Danny Espinosa and others to the Rays for Price?
-- Johnathon C., Washington
LaRoche is going nowhere. I expect him to be the starting first baseman in 2014. I would hate to lose LaRoche's glove. He is one of the best defensive first baseman I've seen over the years.
I do see Espinosa getting traded, but considering the season he had, I don't see him going for a player like Price. Espinosa could go in a Minor League trade, I would think.