Inbox: Will Nats pursue another bat?

Inbox: Will Nats pursue another bat?

Do you see the Nationals bringing in another bat this offseason? And who might be the fit at the position?
-- Justin L., Washington

Yes, I think they will get another bat in the outfield. Who that will be, I don't know. It was reported in another Washington outlet that the Nationals may have interest in Xavier Nady, a guy who is coming off Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. If the report is true, I think the Nationals could do better than that. We'll see what the Nationals will do after the World Series is over.

If you think the Nationals are one or two years away from having a winning season, you are a fool. Who do they have in the Minor Leagues that could step up and play in the Majors?
-- Nguyen B., Washington

Don't forget that right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen are above average prospects. It would not surprise me if Storen is the closer and Strasburg is part of the rotation by the middle of next year.

I also think Ian Desmond is the real deal and can do a great job at shortstop. I liked the way he handled himself with the bat in September. There will be doubts about him with the glove because of the amount of errors he made in the Majors and Minor Leagues last year.

Right now, the team is debating whether he should start the season in the Minor Leagues primarily because of his glove. I think he will save a lot of runs for the Nationals as long as he improves his throwing.

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Which players are guaranteed to start for the Nationals next year?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.

As far as the position players go, I would say first baseman Adam Dunn, second baseman Cristian Guzman, center fielder Nyjer Morgan, left-fielder Josh Willingham and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

From the starting staff, John Lannan is the only one with a guaranteed job. As of today, the bullpen will be Jason Bergmann, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Mike MacDougal.

It shows you that the Nationals have to make a lot of moves to get better next year.

Do you think the Nationals should pursue Mets catcher Brian Schneider?
-- Gloria L., Washington

I would try to get him only if he is a backup. Like I said back in December of 2007, I don't see Schneider as a starter anymore. I don't think he is an upgrade if Jesus Flores is not ready for Opening Day. I believe the Nationals must go after a starting catcher.

I don't see anything wrong with sticking with catcher Wil Nieves as a backup. He has been a pleasant surprise with the bat the last two years.

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