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Inbox: How can Nationals improve?

Inbox: How can Nationals improve?

After two seasons of almost 200 losses, I think the Nationals need to sign some free agents to bridge the gap. Is management seriously considering acquiring veteran starting pitching, a few relief pitchers and at least two position players?
-- Joseph M., Eynon, Pa.

The Nationals are considering all of the above. With Mike Rizzo as the general manager, there is no doubt the team is going to get better this offseason. He will try to sign some quality free agents and make trades.

I think no one will dispute that the team is not good enough with what it has right now.

Do you see the Nationals trying to trade for Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla in the offseason? Washington has made many trades with Florida in the past, and it would be great if Uggla could be the Nationals' long-term solution at second base.
-- Patrick S., Fairfax, Va.

It's not a secret that Rizzo has tremendous respect for Uggla. Rizzo drafted Uggla when he was the D-backs' scouting director, in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. So it would not surprise me if Rizzo tried to trade for the second sacker. The only drawback is Uggla is not great defensively. I don't think this team can afford another player who is a defensive liability. The Nats have too many of them as it is.

I think the Nationals' top choice would be to sign Orlando Hudson, if he becomes a free agent.

With the pickup of Nyjer Morgan in center field, do you believe Justin Maxwell has trade value? I feel he could develop into a star center fielder if given the opportunity to grow and have a decent amount of at-bats.
-- Mick F., Springfield, Va.

I have to think there isn't much of a market for Maxwell, because he has regressed as a hitter. But I thought the same thing about reliever Joel Hanrahan, and Rizzo managed to trade him to the Pirates. I think Rizzo will find a way to get a deal done.

With Greg Maddux's brother, Mike, doing a great job in Texas, do you feel there might be a chance for Greg to come to the Nationals as a pitching coach?
-- Andy C., Nevada, Mo.

Have a question about the Nationals?
Bill LadsonE-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.
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The last I checked, the Nationals are happy with Steve McCatty as their pitching coach. Now, I could see Greg Maddux coming in as a Spring Training instructor. I know the Nationals would like Tom Glavine to come in as a mentor/coach. We'll see what happens after the season is over.

What are the odds of keeping Livan Hernandez? He has more commitment to D.C. than anyone I've ever seen. Why not?
-- Rafael B., Miami

I think it will depend on how well he pitches the rest of the way. So far, he has had two quality starts in three outings. If he finishes strong, I could see him come back next year.

What are the Nationals' plans for Alberto Gonzalez?
-- Chris P., Alabama

Gonzalez didn't take advanatage of an opportunity to claim a spot on the infield, slumping in the second half of the season. If he is still on this team next year, Gonzalez will be a utility man.

I would like to see the Nationals sign Vladimir Guerrero and undo one of the biggest mistakes in Nats/Expos history.
-- Michael R., St. John's, Canada

The hair on my arms stood up when you mentioned the possibility of bringing Guerrero back. He is the best player I ever covered in this organization. While he can still hit .300, I think Guerrero is past his prime, and he is often injured. I think the Nationals need to shy away from those types of players and get guys who are in their prime.

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

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