Johnson was a great player and a face of the franchise, but does Aaron Thompson have a chance to make as much of an impact as Johnson?
-- David W., Potomac, Md.
BL: I think it's too early to say if Thompson will have an impact on the team. It's going to take a few years. At the same time, the Nationals are doing what team president Stan Kasten promised in 2006. The Nationals are stockpiling starting pitching and that is a good thing. No one could make that statement when the Nationals moved to Washington before the 2005 season.
What Bill is really saying: I think so, but I'm not sure.
Craig Stammen continues to struggle. They should put Tyler Clippard in the rotation and move Stammen to the bullpen. What are your thoughts?
-- Joshua, Puerto Rico
BL: I'm going to give Stammen the benefit of the doubt because he is a young pitcher and is still learning. If this were a veteran like Tim Redding or Pedro Astacio, I would be all over him and agree with what you said.
What Bill is really saying: I don't think so, but I'm not sure.
What options do the Nats currently have at first base now that Johnson is gone?What Bill is really saying: I think Adam Dunn, but I'm not sure.
-- Mike B., Washington, D.C.
BL: Right now, Adam Dunn is the option at first base. This will be a two-month trial to show that he can play solid defense at first. I think he will do well at the position. But ask me this question again after the season. Plans may change.
It has been stated a few times that the Nats will be looking for a shortstop in the offseason, and that Cristian Guzman's defense has become suspect. Were the Nats shopping Guzman before the Trade Deadline?What Bill is really saying: I think they were, but I'm not sure.
-- Frank H., Washington, D.C.
BL: The Nationals were shopping almost everybody on the team, but I think Guzman will be on the team the rest of this season and next year. The Nationals don't have a shortstop to replace him right now.
C'mon, Bill? Where's the brilliantly up sided projection for Aaron Thompson? Or that Stammen will turn it around and be a force to reckon with? I'm starting to think covering this team for as many years as you have has gotten you down, big guy. I don't want to see that. As much as I make fun of your writing, it's mostly because you call dudes by the wrong names. I secretly love the enthusiastic, rose-colored outlook you have!
Here's what I want you to do, Bill. Re-submit your column with your answers as follows.
Re: Aaron Thompson having as much impact as Nick Johnson:
Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind that Aaron can be a 15 game winner, with a strikeout/walk ratio of 4:1. Anyway, they're practically the same person, in talent and name. I mean... Johnson... Thompson? It's destiny!
Re: Stammen working it out vs. being sent to the bullpen:
Stammen has all the tools to be a front end starter and I know Steve McCatty will guide him to an All-Star career. Plus, I like the cut of his jib, if you know what I mean.
Re: Options at first base:
Adam Dunn is a smasher. A basher. He is a Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger. He is the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. His is Strength... and Lust... and Power! HE IS
BEOWULFTHE BIG DONKEY!
Re: Did the Nats try and move Guzman before the deadline:
They did. They really did. But the best offer anyone gave the Nats was an autographed picture of Florence Henderson, a case of Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, and a VHS copy of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
Now, was that so hard? I'll tell you what, Bill. I'll be at the Arizona game on Friday. How bout you and I go grab some Five Guys? The bacon dogs are on me!