Inbox: Could Guzman be dealt before '10?

Inbox: Could Guzman be dealt before '10?

What are the chances of Cristian Guzman being traded this offseason?
-- Ross B., Washington

I think if they could get someone to take Guzman's contract, it would be more than 50-50. I find it hard to believe the Nationals would go into next season with Guzman at second base and Adam Dunn at first. They both have defensive flaws -- neither has good range.

If you were in general manager Mike Rizzo's shoes, what you would do to make the Nationals better?
-- Ron J., Washington

I would trade Dunn, Guzman or Josh Willingham to get more pitching and speed. You may have to trade two of the three to get what you want. Nyjer Morgan's absence has proven that they are too slow on the bases.

There is no need for me to explain how much the pitching -- starting and relieving -- has struggled. I would suggest the Nationals go out and get two veteran starters. I hope Livan Hernandez is one of those starters. As much as I like Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Mike MacDougal, the Nationals need a difference maker to come into the game in the ninth inning. Maybe Drew Storen could be the guy in the closer's role.

You said that next year's rotation is still unknown except for John Lannan. What about Stephen Strasburg?
-- Alex C., Montreal

There are no guarantees about Strasburg. He has to come to Spring Training and prove that he belongs on the starting staff. I think Rizzo has proven that he is not going to rush players like Strasburg and Storen to the big leagues.

Right-hander Shairon Martis has more wins in a short period of time than all the other Nationals' starters. He should have been called up to the big leagues this month.
-- Stan C., New York

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Martis didn't set the world on fire for Triple-A Syracuse. Besides, he reached his innings limit and was shut down for the rest of the season.

I really liked the competitive spirit of Jamey Carroll when he played with the Nationals. Pete Orr reminds me of Jamey in that way. What do you think?
-- Jim T., Beaufort, S.C.

You just made me smile when you mentioned Carroll. What a great man and smart player. Yes, Orr does have that winning spirit like Carroll and will do anything to stay on the roster. I think when its all said and done, Orr will get high marks for being another Jamey Carroll.

I've heard lots of talk about the Nats going after second baseman Orlando Hudson. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Hudson in a Nationals uniform. But what do you think the chances are they will really signing him?
-- Matt H., Tallahassee, Fla.

If Hudson becomes a free agent, I have faith that Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten could get something done. Even if they don't sign Hudson, I believe Kasten and Rizzo will do everything they can to improve the second-base situation and encourage fans to be patient.

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