Fantasy GM: Washinton Nationals

Fantasy GM: Washinton Nationals

The Nationals have a ton of issues they need to address to even think about being competive.

Here’s the current starting line up:
C – Jesus Flores
1B – Adam Dunn
2B – Christian Guzman
3B – Ryan Zimmerman
SS – Ian Desmond
LF – Josh Willingham
CF – Willie Harris
RF – Elijah Dukes
Bench – Ivan Rodriguez, Alberto Gonzalez, Mike Morse, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, Justin Maxwell
SP – John Lannan, Garrett Mock, Scott Olsen, Marco Estrada
RP – Brian Bruney, Ty Clippard, Sean Burnett, Jason Bergmann, Doug Slaten, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester
DL – Jordan Zimmerman (out for 2010)

Stephen Strasburg is considered by some to be in the starting rotation, but I’d let him start the season in the minors. He needs to have his innings pitched limited this year; he’s too good to let him get overworked this early in his career.

Right off the bat, the front office needs to address that they are putting things in place to be competitive in 2011; they will only hurt their credibility with their fans if they say they are going to compete this season. So why not start moving guys that aren’t in their future.

Let’s start with the best chip – Adam Dunn. Dunn is a offense first player who has tons of power and strikes out a lot. Once Jason Bay and Matt Holliday are off the market, his value should be at it’s highest. One place to check would be St. Louis; they’ll be looking for a replacement for Holliday. Dunn fits well as protection for Albert Pujols and the defense can be covered up; Colby Rasmus can cover some ground to make it up, and they have plenty of defensive replacements on the bench. The Nats could probably get Mitch Boggs and Tyler Greene in return. Boggs has a good fast ball, but need to work on location and secondary pitches. Greene will probably be nothing more than a utility player, but he’s got speed and should be able to cover the infield as a back up.

Another player that has value is Josh Willingham. He’s been linked to many rumors this off season, so he’s in demand. The Mets were interested in him; I’d see if they’d send Jon Niese for him.

There’s a slight possibility that they could move Christian Guzman and Willie Harris; they won’t get much, but that moves them off the roster. I’d also look for replacement for Gonzalez and Morse; neither offers much.

With these changes, first, second, center field, and left field are now open, along with 2 bench spots; Justin Maxwell is an option for left. The IF bench spot could be taken over by Greene. Boggs and Niese could take rotation spots; Estrada isn’t a real rotation option.

I’d fill the openings on the market, attempting to find guys with value for 1 year deals. If they work out, you can either attempt to keep them around or deal them at the deadline for prospects. If they don’t, they should be easily replacable.

For first base, see about getting Ryan Garko, Mike Jacobs, or Hank Blalock. All are trying to prove they can still play and would be willing to sign cheaply; Blalock is the preferred option. For the center field spot, I’d go with Alfredo Amezaga; he’s not the best everyday player, but he gives you options as he can also play the infield. For the other bench spot, I’d go for either Brian Anderson or Rocco Baldelli. Neither one will set the world on fire, but they are both good defensively and have had limited success hitting. Anderson has a few years of control as well. The second base spot would be for Kelly Johnson; he’s proven, young, and would be under control for a few years. He’s worth throwing a few extra bucks at as well.

Now, the team looks like this:
C – Jesus Flores
1B – Hank Blalock
2B – Kelly Johnson
3B – Ryan Zimmerman
SS – Ian Desmond
LF – Justin Maxwell
CF – Alfredo Amezaga
RF – Elijah Dukes
Bench – Ivan Rodriguez, Tyler Greene, Brian Anderson, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina
SP – John Lannan, Garrett Mock, Scott Olsen, Mitchell Boggs, Jon Niese
RP – Brian Bruney, Ty Clippard, Sean Burnett, Jason Bergmann, Doug Slaten, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester
DL – Jordan Zimmerman (out for 2010)

It’s an improved team, but not a contender yet. If Amezaga, Blalock, and Anderson work out, you have trade options for more prospects. You also have some options to move in the bullpen and Scott Olsen if they are successful to start the season.

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