February 10, 2009

Room for Improvement?

With free agency winding down the Nats are still linked to the reluctant Adam Dunn, while Orlando Hudson plays the waiting game and, per MLB Trade Rumors, Ray Durham is not interested in the Ronnie Belliard special. Additions, should any be forthcoming at this point, will more likely be via trade. Frankly, the Nats don't have space on the roster for another starter-caliber acquisition unless they make a trade or two.

We covered this ground prior to the Winter Meetings, and except for the addition of a few minor league free agents, not much has changed. Fans tend to approach free agent acquisitions in a vacuum, ("Get X! He'll make the team better!), but thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Roster Spots dictate that every signing requires an equal and opposite unsigning. So here's what we have to work with:

  • Catcher: It'll be Jesus Flores, backed up by Will Nieves or Javier Valentin. Yawn.

  • First Base: A healthy Nick Johnson has this on lock down. A gimpy Nick and and my money's on Josh Willingham discovering a burning desire to play 1B. Plan C? Heeelloooo, Dmitri!

  • Second Base: Talented youngster vs. Crafty vet. Unless O-Dawg comes on board late, expect Anderson Hernandez to get every opportunity to beat out safety blanket Ronnie Belliard.

  • Shortstop: The Man, The Myth, The Internet Movement. The Guz Cycle (new contract, terrible year, injury, injury, good year, new contract) predicts a terrible year. Who cares? He's paid!

  • Third Base: Did anyone ever actually ask Ryan Zimmerman if he wanted to be the face of an awful franchise? Just a thought.

  • Outfield: Some combination of Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns and Josh Willingham for three spots. Willie Harris gets the utility nod. Wily Mo? Who knows.

The point is, there's no room at the Inn(field), or the outfield, without moving a few people. So who would you bump to make room for Dunn, or Hudson, are anyone else from the free agent scrap heap?

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