Excerpts from our Reddit AMA on the Nationals

nationals90_image_thumbnailAdam and I were asked to participate in an AMA in the Nationals community on Reddit on Wednesday. An AMA, if you aren’t familiar with the website, means “ask me anything.” We took questions on a wide range of Nationals-related topics, from Washington’s chances of landing an all-star game to the fifth starter’s spot to which players were the nicest. Below are some excerpts from the informal chat, which can be read here. We have hosted similar forums here — our Nationals Q&A, which debuted this winter — and those will continue.

DroobyDo: Do you see a resolution to the MASN debacle any time soon?

Wagner: Such a difficult issue to forecast, but no, can’t see it happening any time soon. I’ll define soon as in, perhaps, before the start of the season or even by the end of the season. I could be wrong, but it is a very complicated issue. It is a dispute between two teams and, if one team is angry with a decision, the courtroom is not likely where MLB wants the problem solved. Could you imagine the sensitive information or financial records that could get dragged out in discovery?

jsauser: Hi guys, in your opinion, what’s the Nats’ ceiling and what’s the Nats’ floor in terms of win totals this year? Also, how do you see us stacking up against the Braves?

Kilgore: I’ll go 80-102. Kind of a wide berth, but that’s baseball. It’s hard to see the wheels coming all the way off with that rotation, and what seems like better depth there than last year.Should be a hell of a fight in the East. I give the Nationals a slight edge based on rotation. The Braves didn’t do much this winter, but it’s easy to forget so many players they already had, and still have, are studs. I do think they should have done more to replace McCann; I can’t see Gattis holding up over a full season at catcher. But the Nats have some questions of their own, of course. Huge year for LaRoche. Harper and Werth need to be healthier. McLouth should help with that.

J_D_P: … what Nats prospect has been most disappointing over the past decade?

Kilgore: Hard not to go with Chris Marrerro. He’s not finished — I talked with one scout who thinks he could help an AL team as a DH. But it’s not going to happen with the Nats, obviously. He had rotten luck, starting with his broken leg at Potomac. It hurt his development and he had a hard time coming back physically, too.

anjinfob: After being around the team daily year-round, you must have a great sense for the vibe or the culture. From a fan perspective, it seems a lot of that is derived from the manager. How do you expect that to change with Williams this year instead of Davey Johnson?

Wagner: Davey was laid back, and Williams seems like he can/will be, too. But, overall, Williams will be tougher. For example, Williams said at the winter meetings that he had the first 25 days of spring training already mapped out. Davey, on the other hand, took a more relaxed approach with spring training because he didn’t to wear on the players. It’s a fine balance, but Williams’ style may be just what the team needs.

pazzo83: Guys, do you think the Nats will make any further moves in the bullpen, specifically possibly another lefty?

Kilgore: No big league deals. They may sign a guy to a minor league deal with an invite. They actually have a bit of faith in Xavier Cedeno as a left-on-left guy. He was great at Syracuse last year and good in a very small sample in the majors. He’s got options, too.

amorris525: Love reading both of your gamers and other assorted nats coverage. One question, when do you think the nats will host an all star game? Selig owes us for taking eons to resolve the MASN dispute.

Kilgore: The Nats were told they would get one eventually. It may be a few years. Cincinnati getting it in 2015 hurts, because MLB likes to alternate between AL and NL. The Marlins were also told they would get a game, so the Nats have competition for 2017. But that could be the year. It makes great sense to put the game in the nation’s capital. The city has a plan for accommodations, transportation, security, etc. all ready to go. It may help when there’s more bars, restaurants and such.

ramming_precision: Hey guys, thanks for doing this. If no further changes occur at Catcher who in your mind will be the backup? Sandy-good defense, still some potential Snyder:best chance to be close to replacement level/proven commodity or the Onion: AKA what will lead me to alcoholism?

Wagner: Right now, I’d say Jhonatan Solano is the Nats’ back-up catcher. The Nats like him and think he’s a capable back-up. He just hasn’t had much of a chance to show it; when Solano was with the team, Ramos was playing nearly every day late in the season. Snyder could have a strong spring and earn a spot, but Solano may be more well-rounded right now.

App1eSeed25: Hi guys, first off, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. You’re both great follows on Twitter year round. A few questions for both of you:

1) What is the biggest difference between Davey and Williams that you expect to see next season? 2) What’s this I hear about a dome being put on Nats Park?? 3) What are the best and worst ballparks you’ve been to? 4) Why is Turner the worst?

Thanks!

Kilgore: 1) I think Williams will be a bit more strict, but not in a jerky way. Davey let the clubhouse run itself, and I think Williams will probably have a little more say. But he played the game and understands not to overstep his bounds. 2) Ted Lerner asked Mayor Gray about the city paying for one. There’s a zero-percent chance it happens. 3) Best is AT&T Park in SF, followed closely by PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Oakland is the worst. 4) Ha.

natslovemeback22: Hey guys, two quick questions:

1. who is your favorite player past or present to interview?

2. I’ve been a fan since 05 when the Nats came to town and it is still upsetting to see so many fair-weather fans. Do you guys have any ideas on what the Nats need to do (minus make it to the world series) to create a more solid fan base?

Also, waddup Virginia native! There are so few of us. Thanks in advance!

Wagner: 1) I haven’t been around the Nats as long as Adam, but of the Nats that I’ve been around, some personal favorites to interview because they are so sharp and funny: Mark DeRosa, Michael Gonzalez, Dan Haren, Sean Burnett, of course Davey. Other good guys that are great to talk to on the team now: Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth, Craig Stammen, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Mattheus, Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Denard Span, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Jordan Zimmermann. Just to list a few… 2) As the team improves and the years pass, I think a more solid fan base will develop. I’ve already seen it happen since 2005.

Kilgore:  I’m lucky, because since I’ve been on the beat it’s been a great team to deal with. There’s not one guy on last year’s team who I would think, “Oh, bleep, I gotta talk to HIM today?”

Werth makes you work and ask good questions, but he’s a tremendous interview. He’s thoughtful and articulate, and a good story teller. Stammen is great. Scott Olsen was an amazing quote — he didn’t care about anything. Kind of a scoundrel, but I liked that guy. Ryan Zimmerman. Adam LaRoche. Ian Desmond is really thoughtful and admirable in how often he makes himself available. I actually like talking with Jordan Zimmermann, too. He’s funny and honest. Like I said, I’m lucky. There are a lot of good interviews in that clubhouse.

cubanimal: Another question, do you get the impression that a lot of the Nats players are friends off the field? We all know about the Storen/Clippard bromance, but I’m curious about the rest of the guys.

Wagner: Yes, I do see the Nats players as friends off the field. In particular, the bullpen guys are close. Storen and Clippard are buddies. But Stammen is close to them, too. As is Mattheus. LaRoche is friends with everyone, as is Desmond. Werth is close to some guys, too. On the road, they hang out and even at home. But you have to remember that some are married with kids and go home to their families, when the single players don’t have that necessarily.

Blingon: Ross D going to be the 5th starter? Or Jordan? Either of them (if not the 5th starter) trade bait? From a Nats fan displaced to Raleigh NC, who reads both of your articles and tweets every day. Thanks guys. 

Kilgore: Undecided. Detwiler has to have an edge based on experience. But the Nats are not giving it to him. Roark will be able to throw his hat in the ring, too. Thanks for reading.

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