What did you think about the Nationals making Jim Riggleman the permanent manager? -- Charlie B., Washington
It was a great move, because there is going to be discipline and accountability on the team, something that was missing before he became the interim manager. I believe the Nationals will be better in 2010 under Riggleman. I loved the way Riggleman gave opponents the element of surprise -- hit and run with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate, a surprise bunt, squeeze plays and stealing bases. I also admired how he gave a young player like Tyler Clippard confidence to be a major contributor on the team.
Do you see a double-play combination of Ian Desmond and Cristian Guzman? -- George M., Burke, Va.
I'm going to answer the question this way: I find it hard to believe that Guzman and Adam Dunn are going to be on the right side of the infield together. Guzman has a hard time to going to his left and Dunn has a tough time going to his right. I have no proof that Guzman is going to be any better at second base. I believe that the Nationals will try to trade Guzman. It will be hard, because he will make $8 million next year.
As far as Desmond goes, I'm getting mixed signals. I know that Riggleman likes him, but there are other people in the organization who believe he needs more seasoning in the Minor Leagues.
I was a big Ronnie Belliard fan. Do you see the Nats signing Belliard as a backup again? -- Patrick S., Chantilly, Va.
I'm a Belliard fan myself, but I don't see him coming back to Washington. I'm sure he wants to play every day. I don't think that would happen if he was a member of the Nationals.
What do you expect from Scott Olsen in 2010? -- Ed B., Miami
I spoke to Olsen recently and I expect him to be 100 percent and have a good season. I will have a story on him Monday.
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One of my favorite players is Jamey Carroll. He worked hard, was very fundamentally sound and was a great veteran player to have in the clubhouse. I hear he is a free agent. What are the odds of the Nationals bringing him back? -- Justin F., Vienna, Va.
Right now, it would be less than 50 percent. I've been told at least nine teams are interested in Carroll. Things could change by December. Carroll would be an excellent pickup for the Nationals, as he is one of the smartest baseball people I ever met.
Ross Detwiler pitched much better after being recalled in September. Is there a good chance he will be in the Opening Day rotation? -- Ryan K, Carlisle, Pa.
I'm high on Detwiler and I expect him to be in the rotation at the start of next season. I liked the way he handled himself after he returned to the Major League level. After the All-Star break, Detwiler was 1-1 with a 1.90 ERA in five games.
How do you see Justin Maxwell fitting into Nationals' long-term plans? -- Jack S., Jackson, Miss.
It's hard to say. I think he still has a lot to prove to the Nationals. I've heard evaluators compare him to D-backs outfielder Chris Young, which means the Nationals believe he will hit a lot of home runs, but hit for a low average and compile a lot of strikeouts.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.