Here are ten questions I would pose in today's chat if I could, most of which are intended to be totally fair, honest questions and none of which would include any thrown shoes:
1. If Jordan Zimmermann is in the rotation on opening day, you will be setting him up for a potentially dangerous jump in innings from the 134 he threw in A+ and AA ball last year. Will you promise to keep his innings below 165 to ensure that he doesn't break down as a result of the "Verducci effect?"
2. A year has passed since we traded for Elijah Dukes, and he's been more or less a model citizen. However, he's had more personal support than any player in the league. Has he grown up enough to take care of himself, or will he still have ex-cop James Williams watching over him?
3. What's the latest on getting Ryan Zimmerman re-signed? Every day he gets closer to free agency he gets more expensive. What will it take to get it done?
4. If you had waited until the last week of May 2006 to bring up Ryan Zimmerman, he'd still be a year from arb and 4 years from free agency, keeping him under team control for a full additional year and making it that much easier to re-sign him long-term. Wasn't it a mistake to bring him up when you did, considering that you're essentially trading his entire age 27 season for 200 age-21 at bats?
5. By any metric that factors in defense as well as offense, Willie Harris was clearly a superior overall left-fielder then Josh Willingham in 2008. Will he have a chance to compete for a starting job?
6. With no more than two established starting pitchers on the team, how can we afford to just toss aside 180 innings of relatively cheap, near-league average pitching from a guy like Tim Redding, especially since the team has said it will not go after any free agents?
7. Is J.D. Martin a candidate for the rotation?
8. Really, what's with all the ex-Reds? Do you think we could get Daryl Thompson for Austin Kearns? (OK, that's one cheap shot... sorry)
9. Joel Hanrahan's ERA was 3.95, just about .10-.15 better than league-average for a reliever. Are you satisfied with him as an ace reliever? If the season started today, who would be your 7th, 8th, and 9th innings relievers?
10. Is the team no longer considering Lastings Milledge for center field? And if he's a corner outfielder, isn't he really a below average bat?
11. At the end of the season you said that if the Nationals had been healthy in 2008 that we would have gone 82-80. How many wins then do you see the Nationals winning in 2009? How many if we add Mark Teixeira? As a 5-6 wins above replacement player, would Tex put us in the running for the wild card, in your view? If not, why? Where have we gotten worse?