Two days ago I said Espinosa was fine, yesterday Werth. Ramos is good. Nix has been the best hitter on the team. Morse has been the hottest. The starting pitching is decent. The relief pitching better than that. If this is all true than what exactly is wrong with the Nats? (other than the fact this decent lineup has only been together for about 2 weeks) Why can't they go on a nice streak and challenge for .500? And can these things be fixed? And can I blame Rizzo for this? And can I stop asking questions?
The lineup has no "star" - Elite offenses have elite offensive players. The Nats should have two, but right now they have none. Werth has not been hitting as such and Zimmerman is still out. It's nice that Morse is so hot, but his streak should be complementing the two more reliable offensive guys.
Fixable? No. The Nats aren't giving up young players for a good bat. Only time can heal this wound.
Blameable? No on Zimm. No on not bringing in someone else. (what other FA was there that's doing well right now? Berkman and... Xavier Nady?) Maybe on Werth - stats suggest he was a borderline "star" on offense.
Ian Desmond - He's struggling terribly. .223 / .264 /.350. An empty lineup spot right now.
Fixable? Not right now. There isn't a good MI replacement ready so sending down Desmond would be just for his benefit not the team's (and I don't even think it would help him - it looks more and more like he just had a fluke year)
Blameable? No. In fact I think playing him everyday even if he ends up costing the team a game or two is the right move.
Center Field - Ankiel is ready to leave the league. Bernadina doesn't have the talent to stay in it.
Fixable? No. National's organizational depth just isn't there. Anyone worth going out to get would likely cost the Nats something they don't want to give up. Starting Bernadina everyday until the All-Star break is the right move (so you can write him off) The best move for wins might be... I can't believe I'm saying this... starting Hairston everydaYYUK! Bleccch! Ugh! You can imagine how good a "fix" that is.
Blameable? Depends on how you feel about Nyjer Morgan. The Nats had a cheap, good fielding, average hitting option and they threw him away because of an off-year and a bad attitude. I don't mind fiery, even if it borders on jerk. I like decent play. I blame Rizzo.
The bench is awful - JHJ is the best of the bunch and his praise is no more than "hasn't been awful". Cora has gotten some hits but basically all singles. Bixler is bad. Stairs worse. There's no power, no getting on base, no elite speed, no great fielding.
Fixable? - I have to think so. Certainly you can drop Stairs and bring in someone that can hit. There's got to be someone out there right? You can replace Bixler and maybe get lucky with a decent call-up, hard to see it being worse. If Ankiel takes Stairs place on the bench, (giving the Nats a good fielder on the bench and maybe some pop) you can find a speedy good field never let bat OF, right? On second thought don't do that because you'll let him bat. I know you will. Sorry Tony Gwynn Jr.
Blameable? Yes. This isn't where the GM makes the biggest impact but it is where he has the biggest influence. Pudge is a fine back-up catcher though. So kudos on that 2 year, 6million dollar deal for that.
There is no "Star"ting pitcher? - Unlike every other year from 2006 on, this Nats rotation doesn't feature anyone that doesn't belong in the majors. Problem is it's more a group of 4th starters than a true rotation. ZNN is starting to move up but there still isn't anyone here that you can be sure is going to give you a good game and maybe bust a losing streak with a shutout.
Fixable? - I can't see how. Great pitchers don't grow on trees and don't come cheap.
Blameable? - I wouldn't. They made a pass at the best pitcher available. (who is no longer an elite pitcher - there I said it! - Take that Cliff Lee lovers! In all your respective faces. You know Lannan's ERA is only 0.10 worse than Cliff Lee? Does that sting?) Other that that what can you do? It's wait on Strasburg time and see how good the other guys can be in the meantime. Best bet is ZNN proves to be a solid #2, Gorzelanny or Marquis a #3, and Livan and Lannan keep doing their surprise bits, one being brilliant every 3rd game the other managing to keep the opponent from scoring the ton of runs they should by voodoo curses and magic spells.