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The Washington Nationals

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Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Barry Svrluga was online Wednesday, June 20, at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the Nationals.

The transcript follows.

Svrluga covers the Nationals beat for The Post and writes the Nationals Journal blog for washingtonpost.com. He's also the author of "National Pastime: Sports, Politics, and the Return of Baseball to Washington, D.C."

Full Coverage: Washington Nationals

Discussion Archive

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Barry Svrluga: Hey folks. Thanks for stopping by. Check out the Journal for the latest news -- Brandon Watson, Luis Ayala and Chris Schroder up, Robert Fick to bereavement leave because of the death of his mother yesterday, and Levale Speigner and Winston Abreu designated for assignment.

Plenty of other stuff to talk about, too, so let's get started.

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Detroit: Why on earth would any manager with common sense want to go to work for Angelos?

Barry Svrluga: A pretty interesting situation up the Parkway, no?

I think there's a couple of things that make this, perhaps, a bit of a different hire. Andy MacPhail could make this a fundamentally different franchise. Now, anyone in that position would have to be given some autonomy, and there's not a lot of people who would say Angelos gives autonomy. But this could be different. I think it's possible there is going to be a sea change in the Orioles organization -- admittedly, it's not an organization I know well -- that could have been pushed and prodded by the Nationals' mere presence here.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Re: Watson -- okay, who can hate on a guy that just set the IL batting streak record? (Despite the dubious worth of such an achievement. Now, an on-base streak, that's an accomplishment, which of course this way...) So anyway, Double Agent Zero is up, but what can we expect to see of some other guys with better OPS: Jimenez, Casto, Restovich, McDonald?

Barry Svrluga: I thought it was rather interesting last night that Acta said he would play Watson right away. Nook Logan has been very poor lately, and that includes some misplays on defense, which is supposed to be his calling card. Langerhans, though, has been decent.

We'll see what Watson brings. It could be a short stint up here. As for the others, they won't arrive before injuries or trades.

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Fairfax, Va.: Have you read Tim Kurkjian's new book "Is This a Great Game Or What?" I gotta say, I preferred the writing in "National Pastime," but some of the stories in Kurkjian's work were fascinating. He gives real insight into what it must be like to be a beat writer for an MLB team, and I gotta say, I am even more amazed that you generate such quality prose while working the schedule you do. We're really lucky to have you.

Barry Svrluga: You are way, way too kind, Fairfax. It's a wonderful job that I'm privileged to have. Kurkjian is one of the very good guys/writers/reporters who truly loves the game, and though I've only read excerpts of the book, I'm sure that love comes out throughout.

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Silver Spring, Md.: What have you heard from The Nationals as far as signing of the remaining draft picks, and what are your thoughts on the McGeary situation?

Barry Svrluga: They're "making progress," as you would expect them to say. First-round pick Ross Detwiler is the most important to sign because he could get to the big leagues soon -- even at the tail end of this year. Bowden said yesterday that negotiations are active, and he's obviously trying to use the P.R. that guys like Cordero and Zimmerman signed quickly and were in the big leagues that year.

Others: Dana Brown and Chuck LaMar met with supplemental pick Josh Smoker earlier this week, and the Nationals will meet with the advisor for outfielder Michael Burgess early next week.

McGeary: He's the high-school pitcher from Boston who's targeted for Stanford who the Nationals took a flier on in the sixth round. They're going to make a run, but I have the feeling we won't know for sure on this till August.

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Haverford, Pa.: How is Chris Marrero coming along defensively as an outfielder? Am I reading too much into his DH-ing regularly at Potomac, or is he not developing (defensively) as the organization would like?

Barry Svrluga: He had some sort of small injury that escapes me that made him day-to-day down there. But this is a National League team. They can't afford to develop DHs. He is not fast, which hurts, but he's got to make the plays on the balls he gets to. They're working on that.

Look for a Dave Sheinin piece on Marrero -- the Nationals' best hitting prospect -- in the coming days.

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Washington: Barry, what did you think of Jorge's feel-good Sosa column for ESPN The Magazine? Can the guy get any more cheesy? I mean, let's all hold hands and report on a story that happened in Spring Training!

Barry Svrluga: Hey, I'm not here to rip the guys who fled the building, am I?

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Constitution Ave. NE, D.C.: Sr. Svrluga, will anyone who has started a game for The Nationals this year be traded before the deadline? Obviously Speigner is out of the running at this point, but you can make the case that Simontacchi, Bowie or even Bascik could be at least pieces of a trade within the next month, right? Good to have the podcast back.

Barry Svrluga: Um, did you see Simontacchi's start last night. Let's recap: 3 IP, 10 H, 10 ER. Ouch.

That said, anyone that runs off a string of good starts between now and July 31 would be eligible to be traded, no question. I just don't know if the Nationals have those kinds of guys. They could get results like that from Hill or Bergmann, but they won't trade them.

Big start for Bacsik tonight against Bonderman. He needs to turn in a solid outing if he wants to remain in the rotation, it seems.

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Beaufort, S.C.: Great blogs and chats Barry. We really appreciate all you do. Now, about this guy Lannan, do you think he'll be called up before September, or will they not want to rush him along? Also, any chance at all D. Young will stick around should Nick Johnson's injury and rehab not enable him to return to the line-up this season, or possibly at all!?

Barry Svrluga: Thanks, Beaufort. I appreciate you reading.

John Lannan: For those who don't know, Lannan is the lefty who began the year at Class A Potomac, moved up to Class AA Harrisburg and yesterday was promoted to Class AAA Columbus. He's 9-2 with a 2.something ERA combined this year, and Bowden said yesterday, "He could be here soon."

Honestly, I don't think we'll see him before September. But if he runs off five great starts at Columbus, who knows?

Young: I really think people are misreading the situation on his trade being tied into Johnson' health. If they get a good offer for Young (one or two solid young pitchers, starters preferably) then they'll take it even if Johnson is still a month away. Young is, in crass terms, a commodity, a stock. They'll find someone (Fick, Batista, Langerhans, Belliard) to fill in at first if indeed they trade Young before Johnson is healthy.

(Incidentally, I spoke to Johnson at length about his rehab yesterday, and I'll either put it in the paper or the Journal today or tomorrow.)

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Alexandria, Va.: A sad day for the Nats. I'm sure all our thoughts and prayers are with Robert Fick and his family. Seven days max for bereavement doesn't seem like much time at all. What options does a player (and the club for that matter) have if he needs to take more? I can't imagine functioning well at work a week after my Mom passed away.

Barry Svrluga: In all honesty, Fick believed he would see his mother's passing as a relief. That's what he told me the other day. This has been a long, hard struggle, and he hated to see her in such bad shape.

There's no telling how people will react once an event like that happens, but Fick seemed prepared.

As for options, he must be either reinstated to the roster or sent to the minors/released at the end of the seven days. I think we'll see him back in fine form.

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Bethesda, Md.: Can the surprising early success of some of the Nationals' formerly unknown minor league pitchers be attributed to the simple fact that they were unknown and coaches couldn't prepare for their tendencies and make adjustments? Now that guys like Matt Chico, Jason Simontacchi and Jason Bergmann have been in a few games, better teams know how to tee off on them and they are losing some of their luster.

Barry Svrluga: Uh, not sure I agree. Bergmann's last game was a near no-hitter, and he's been on the DL since. (Though he'll come off to pitch in Atlanta next week.) Chico is learning. Acta said the other night that he was surprised he hasn't endured more outings like the eight-run outburst that happened against the Tigers. (Have you checked Detroit's lineup lately? My goodness, those boys can hit.)

I'll be interested in Simontacchi's next start. He's pretty competitive. We'll see how he responds.

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Nationals Ink: Barry what can you tell us about the tats on our boys? Rauch has that mysterious "I" on the back of his neck and Lopez has at least one whole sleeve.

Barry Svrluga: Rauch has a lot of tattoos, too. He has the feet of his daughter tattooed on one of his calves. The "I" you refer to is part of the Roman numerals that go down his spine (which is long) that spell out his wedding date.

Lopez: He does have a whole sleeve, but I haven't discussed it with him much.

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Washington: I have a question about how the beat reporter's job works. What are the ground rules? Is every encounter you have with a player -- hotel lobby, outside the clubhouse -- on the record? Are they constantly on guard that something they say to you may end up in The Post?

Barry Svrluga: Good question. In general, things are on-the-record unless we talk about them being off-the-record. Now, there are some exceptions. If I run into guys in the hotel or on the street or whatever when we're on the road, I generally head in another direction, etc. As long as they're not breaking the law, that's not my concern.

In the clubhouse, at least the portions we have access to, things are on-the-record. It's up to the reporters to build trust with the players. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

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Stories with Legs?: So, next year's season ticket prices are announced. There's some uproar, and then all is forgotten? Why don't any of these stories have any staying power?

Barry Svrluga: What are we supposed to do? "Breaking News: Ticket Prices for New Stadium Still High."

There will be lots of stories about the stadium experience, the progress of sales, etc., in the run-up to the new park. There won't be daily carping on such things.

Parking, it seems to me, is going to be an even more hot-button issue next spring.

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Arlington, Va.: The outfield grass looked terrible last night. How is the field condition regarded by the players compared to other venues?

Barry Svrluga: They hate that the soccer team plays there. They mow the grass really low and it gets slippery. Plus they don't seem to be able to get rid of the lines. The other night I was sitting in the press box and, in my best Charlie Slowes voice, said, "And Kearns steps juuuuuuuuust inside the penalty area to make the catch." Ridiculous.

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Stafford, N.Y.: How long do you think Brandon Watson will be given to put up better numbers than the current Logan/Langerhans platoon? Management obviously isn't happy ... but then what would be the corresponding move when Fick gets back?

Barry Svrluga: I think he gets a week, and that's it. The organization had to call up Watson because of his 43-game hitting streak. It's a nice reward. But that doesn't mean most of the front office folks believe in him as a player. There's a reason he was released by Detroit earlier this year.

That said, he'll get a shot. We'll see.

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Alexandria, Va.: It's not even the All-Star break, and the trade rumors are flying from everywhere. However, when the biggest players on the market are listed, no players on The Nationals' roster typically appear. It's clear Dmitri Young is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, but Todd Helton and his huge contract always are mentioned. Should The Nationals be doing a better job of trying to sell their available players, or should they just wait for the chips to fall and see if any teams have anything left after the really big names get sucked up by contending teams?

Barry Svrluga: It's this simple: The Nationals will take what they consider to be a fair price for Young -- or for anyone. Just because you don't hear much about specific offers doesn't mean teams aren't calling every day.

Young must be dealt to someone who needs a quick fix, though. He's only under contract through the remainder of this year. I really, really, really think he would look good in the Minnesota lineup.

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Columbia, Md.: Barry, what is a MLB clubhouse like after a team gets pasted the way the Nats did last night? Are the guys angry, down, or do they just shrug it off? Condolences to Robert Fick, by the way...

Barry Svrluga: I wrote about this in my gamer this morning. Most of the veterans are able to shrug it off. They've seen it before, they'll see it again. It's up to them to convey that to the younger players.

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Washington: How is Beltran Perez doing?

Barry Svrluga: Not very well. He is 4-3 with a 6.13 ERA for Class AA Harrisburg thus far.

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Billy Traber: I may not be great, but the team seems to have completely ruled me out of the starting mix. Do I have attitude problems, or is there something else holding me back?

Barry Svrluga: Holding you back, Billy, is your 7-plus ERA as a starter last year. But now, you're putting up very good numbers (2-0, 1.59 ERA) as a reliever. The club likes how you're resilient and can pitch on consecutive days, can be used as a lefty specialist or throw a couple of innings.

Embrace your role, because you are, for the most part, succeeding in it.

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Washington: If management doesn't really believe in Watson, who cares about a minor league record? It didn't do Crash Davis any good.

Barry Svrluga: It's a nice reward for a kid who plugged away and stayed at it. Plus, who knows? Front office people have been wrong before. They could be wrong this time, too.

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Washington: Barry, I was in Des Moines, Iowa, last week for business. What a baseball lovers paradise -- you get to watch four teams in market: the Cubs, White Sox, Cardinals and Twins, each on a different channel. Those teams compete for the hearts and minds of the fans in Iowa. I say this as prelude to my question for you. With the front office addition in Baltimore, and the "Plan" in Washington, do you think we finally are beginning to see the start of some serious competition between these two clubs for the hearts and minds of mid-Atlantic baseball fans?

Barry Svrluga: Absolutely think it's possible that will start now. And I'm not talking about the old-timers who made up their minds long ago. I'm talking about kids in Howard and Anne Arundel counties who get to watch both teams and decide who their heroes will be. Competition should make both teams better.

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Mt. Lebanon, Pa.: There were 15 games yesterday; all but one was an interdivision matchup. Of the 15, the AL won only 3, a big day for the NL. But the Nats got clobbered -- at home, wasn't it? Even the Reds, the worst team in the NL, beat the As -- on the road! The Pirates, not much better, beat the Mariners -- in Seattle! Colorado beat the Yankees! Houston beat one of the two best teams in baseball -- the Angels. Ahem: The Nats? Comments? Thanks much.

Barry Svrluga: Um, irrelevant? Means nothing? Hmmm, how to put this. Coincidence?

Nationals faced a fearsome lineup with a pitcher who was far from sharp. He got killed, they got killed, and they'll tee it up again tonight.

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Darnell McDonald: How am I not called up over Brandon Watson? He had the nice hitting streak, but besides a slightly better average, I have better numbers across the board and can play all three outfield positions. Love the chats/blogs!

Barry Svrluga: Believe me, the club likes what you're doing, Darnell. But I think there's a line of thinking that says the 43-game hit streak matters. I think if McDonald had been called up, there would be a lot more people on this chat today impersonating Brandon Watson and saying, "Geez, I just hit in 43 straight games. What do I have to do?"

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Washington: I was at the game last night, and given the circumstances, we were talking about the music that's played when batters come up or when pitchers come in from the bullpen. We couldn't make much of it out, but the ones we could make out didn't make a lot of sense to us. Will the Nats' use of music improve in the new stadium? This could be key, at least until The Plan comes to fruition.

Barry Svrluga: Each of the guys gets to choose his music before at-bats. They'll ask to mix it up some. I think what will improve in the new park will be the sound system. (And, of course, by then they will hopefully have eliminated that ridiculous "Clint" character who rides in the back of the truck and points into the TV camera and tries to heave T-shirts over the backstop and when he does so successfully acts as if he's one an Olympic gold medal in T-shirt throwing. Currently the worst part of the game-day experience -- by far.)

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Harrisburg, Pa.: Perez is on the DL in Harrisburg as well

Barry Svrluga: So there's that, too.

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South Riding, Va.: If the plan is to build for the future, when will Trader Jim start trading today's starters for prospects? Guzman's and Young's trade value can't get much higher than right now.

Barry Svrluga: Trader Jim's job is to drum up the best market, and that generally won't happen for a bit, as we get closer to the deadline and the teams fall into two categories -- buyers and sellers. Yes, you gamble a bit by hanging onto a Young, but you want to maximize your return, so I think we're a good three weeks from a trade.

Of course, I say that, and something could happen today.

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Punchandjudy, Ohio: Slaphitters may succeed against AAA pitching and defenses but not so much in MLB.

Barry Svrluga: Which is exactly the thinking among some of the Nationals' brass.

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Herndon, Va.: There was an article in the Baltimore Sun within the last few days that said the Orioles minor league talent was rated next-to-last by a reliable publication, with only the Nationals worse off. Is that current and true? I know we were hurting in 2004 and 2005 but I thought we had made some real strides.

Barry Svrluga: There have been some strides, but really the only highly touted prospects in the Nationals' organization right now are RHP Collin Balester at Harrisburg and OF Chris Marrero at Potomac. There are other potential pieces (Lannan the most prominent), but signing this crop of draft picks is key to getting the system restocked. This is a long process.

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Falls Church, Va.: In a radio interview, Bowden talked about Watson being called up only because Fick is on the bereavement list and otherwise they wouldn't be able to bring him up. He mentioned that the roster is too full with guys who they can't send down because they won't make it through waivers. Has the Nationals' ownership worked itself into a situation where they don't have much roster flexibility because of Rule 5 players and the such? How do they plan to bring young talent up from the minors for a major league "try out"?

Barry Svrluga: As discussed above, there's not that much young talent to bring up, at least not that's major league ready. And they just dumped one of their Rule 5 guys -- Speigner -- today. Is the roster less-than-flexible? Absolutely. But I don't think it's crippling them. The goal at the end of the year is to have as many serviceable pieces as possible. Minor moves like adding Brandon Watson and jettisoning Winston Abreu won't have a real impact on that.

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Springfield, Va.: Statistical question here, if you know the answer. How does being called up to the majors affect a minor-league hitting streak? Does the streak end, or does it continue if the player is sent back down (assuming he continues to hit) under the rationale that he hit in every consecutive game in which he could have played? (I seem to recall reading that in the majors if a player does not participate in a game, the streak does not end.)

Barry Svrluga: Well, Watson's streak ended the other day, so it doesn't pertain to this situation, but since it's an International League hitting streak, I would have thought it would have continued when/if he got sent back down, with his major league performance affecting it not at all.

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National Cathedral, D.C.: Hi Barry, Love the chats. I wanted to know if you could explain the whole "he has options" thing when it comes to players coming and going to AAA and below. Is this a standard thing? If you have a contract with a player, why can't you just send him where you want? Thanks...

Barry Svrluga: It's part of baseball's tangle of rules. Basically, players who are under the club's control and on the 40-man roster have three "option years," (in some cases four, but that's even more obscure) in which they can be sent back and forth to the minors as many times as the club wants. When they run out of options, they must be exposed to waivers -- giving every other team a shot at claiming them -- before they are reassigned to the minors. This is intended to give players a chance to get away from clubs that might not have room for them. It keeps teams from hoarding tons of talented players.

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Arlington, Va.: If the Washington Post writers were to have a softball team, what would the lineup look like?

Barry Svrluga: Wow. Well, clearly I'd bat third, play first base and manage. Wise would ride the pine at the beginning of the season, be sent to the minors after a few games. Kilgore would be responsible for bringing the keg. Sheinin would hit cleanup and sing at the postgame parties. Camille Powell (former Dartmouth soccer star) would probably hit leadoff. And the Redskins guys would be too busy hunting down paintball matches to play.

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Arlington, Va.: In your opinion what is the better seat at the new stadium -- Mezzanine section 223 or 225 in right field, or Infield Gallery section 315 or 317?

Barry Svrluga: Wow. Have no idea. You've checked the virtual tour, right?

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Atlanta: How much input does Stan Kasten actually have on player decisions? Does he try to evaluate players himself, or does he rely on stats and scouting reports, trusting the judgment of others? Had he had any training or experience in scouting, or is it just what he picked up while with the Braves?

Barry Svrluga: Stan has input in that he can veto or approve a move, but he's not evaluating players. He used to do that in the NBA (or so he says), but not in baseball. He relies on Bowden and Bowden's team -- Rizzo, Brown, LaMar, etc. -- to provide the best input, and he was in the draft room leading up to and during the draft. But he is not a member of the baseball operations department.

He basically has his hands in on everything, from how much the hot dogs cost to media relations (I have personal knowledge of this, believe me) to contract negotiations.

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Re: The O's: I know talking about the Orioles in this chat can get dicey but ... "Andy MacPhail could make this a fundamentally different franchise." "I think it's possible there is going to be a sea change in the Orioles organization." I know what you're saying and why, but having grown up in Baltimore and been an Os fan for more than 40 years (now dividing my loyalties with the Nats since I live in Northern Virginia), we've heard that before. Just ask Pat Gillick.

Barry Svrluga: It's as good an indication as any, I guess. And note that I hedged my bets by saying "could" and "it's possible" in there.

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Joe Jackson: Impersonators? Are you implying that it's not really the players themselves sending in these questions? Say it ain't so!

Barry Svrluga: Would never imply such a thing.

Sincerely,

Rich Little

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Detroit: Wanted to get your thoughts on the Tigers after watching them the last couple of days. I know their bullpen is having serious issues, but with Rogers and hopefully Zumaya coming back soon, I think we should be fine.

Barry Svrluga: Was saying that last night. If you get Rogers and Zumaya and Fernando Rodney and everyone healthy, man, that's a stout team. We saw them without the DH. I can't imagine their nine-man lineup.

And I'll take this time to point out that what Magglio Ordonez is doing is absolutely absurd. He hit his 34TH DOUBLE OF THE YEAR last night. It is June 20. My word.

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Rosslyn, Va.: How long do you think it will be until the Nationals are contenders in the NL East? My friend attended a doubleheader at the Clippers a few weekends ago, and she said they were terrible! That doesn't bode well for the next few years. I mean, a brand new ballpark can't change the quality of the team, can it?

Barry Svrluga: In general, a team's best prospects aren't at Class AAA, but rather at Class AA. (Of course, Harrisburg is even worse than Columbus, so that doesn't offer much hope.)

It will take at least a couple of years for the farm system to get loaded up. But I am interested in Kasten's own analysis of the situation (and I'm paraphrasing here): "We're closer to being good than I thought we were when I got here." Thinks the budget for drafting and signing players domestically and signing them internationally will help, and he should be able to go into the trade/free agent market in the offseason with $30-$40 million or so to spend, so there's room to get better.

That said, I'll fall back on my typical answer: 2009 is the crucial year for this franchise. The newness of the ballpark will have worn off, and the product will need to be competitive.

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A Pledge: I will buy Season Tickets for the Nats next season if Kasten promises to get rid of "Clint" (aka-The Seacrest Clone, only more obnoxious -- which believe me, is difficult to do). You hear that Kasten? Season tickets.

Barry Svrluga: Stay on the line while we get your name and number, Pledge. OK?

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Re: Bowden: Random question of the week: I enjoy watching Bowden on Channel 9 with Brett Haber as he often announces "Breaking News" in the broadcast. My question is, does Bowden literally wait until he is on the air to announce things -- thereby causing the writers to maybe sit by the interview around the cameras -- or has the move "officially" been made and the writers are already aware of it (them)? Or does it not matter because you are on deadline at 11 p.m., so you'll hear the news before then anyway?

Barry Svrluga: Sometimes he does actually break news on the air. He did that on MASN a few weeks ago when Nook Logan was giving up switch hitting. Oh, the joy.

Last night, he told us slovenly beat writers about all the news a few minutes before he went on the air with Haber. So all was good. But he certainly got it out on the airwaves before I was able to get it on the Journal, so for the public, it was breaking.

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Troy Perkins: Just so you know, I blamed the one goal I let in against Chicago on the third-base foul line grass. We all agree it's ridiculous. At least you guys know you have a new stadium coming, we're still waiting. And we're the ones that kept RFK in barely operable condition for the day baseball came back to Washington.

Barry Svrluga: Who the heck is Troy Perkins? Goff? Goff? Are you here?

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Springfield, Va.: While the results in the past five games may make this question irrelevant, if the Nats actually could manage to finish the season 10 or fewer games below 500, shouldn't Manny Acta be a candidate for manager of the year, given expectations?

Barry Svrluga: Joe Girardi won manager of the year in 2006 for the Marlins with a 78-84 record. Now, he had his crew in wild card contention until the last couple weeks, and it'll take something for the Nationals to get there.

They also have to survive the rest of this homestand against these tough AL teams.

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Leesburg, Va.: Why don't the Nats try to get Nate Robertson or Mike Maroth in trade while the Tigers are in town? They need to move some starting pitching with Rogers coming off the DL soon and Andrew Miller in the rotation now.

Barry Svrluga: Um, Mr. Dombrowski, this is Leesburg. Leesburg, this is Dave Dombrowski, Tigers GM. Why don't you two discuss and -- when Dave stops laughing -- get back to me.

Tigers will stockpile their pitching. I don't know all their option situations, but they're not going to give up Robertson or Maroth right now. Durbin, who looked good last night, maybe, but not the other guys.

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Kens, Md.: Your opening sentence in today's article: "In the detritus of the Washington Nationals' 15-1 lambasting at the hands of the Detroit Tigers last night..." Detritus? Huh? If I wanted to read an article where I have to look up a word, I would read George Will.

Barry Svrluga: de-tri-tus, n. -- any debris.

Always trying to challenge you, Kens.

Enjoy Will's column. Or opus.

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Springfield, Va.: "Mezzanine section 223 or 225 in right field, or Infield Gallery section 315 or 317?"

Mezzanine sections 223 and 225 are lower-level sections down the third-base line. Infield Gallery sections 315 and 317 are lower-level and are close in behind the plate, but you have to be wary of the row numbers -- anything beyond maybe the third row is terrible because of the overhang; you won't be able to follow fly balls. Also, note that the ceiling-mounted PA speakers can be very piercing and tinny when you sit in the 300s -- be wary of aisle seats because that's where the speakers tend to be. I've had to change seats because of the PA when I had a 300-level seat for a D.C. United game once, and thus I never buy in the 300s for the Nationals. I'd go for the 200s, although the original poster's description of the seat locations makes me wonder if he's mistaken on the section numbers.

Barry Svrluga: Springfield weighs in. Thank you.

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Springfield, Va.: Do you think there will be any $10 upper-deck seats left for single-game purchase? I can't afford the outrageous prices of most of the seats in the new stadium, and I'm worried that the most affordable seats will be snatched up by season ticket holders, who also cannot afford most of the over-priced seats in the new stadium.

By the way, I like the idea of the $5 walkup tickets, but I can only imagine the line of fans and scalpers every day snatching up those tickets the second the ticket window opens.

Barry Svrluga: It'll be interesting to see if the Nationals read the market right. To generate the most revenue (read: make the most money) they have to sell all those expensive seats. The $10 ones are less important.

That said, I'd be shocked if season ticket holders took all the cheap seats.

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Barry Svrluga: Whoa, I'm over time. Thanks very much. I'll be out at the park tonight. I'm sure there'll be some Indians fans there over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by here. I'll talk to you next week from Atlanta. And please stay in touch with Nationals Journal for news and analysis.

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