- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2008


Each week, Mark Zuckerman answers questions from readers in a live chat on washingtontimes.com. To participate, click on “chats” in the media toolbar, then select “Nationals chat.”

Question: When can we expect the first trade to happen? Who is most likely to go first, (Cristian Guzman, Jon Rauch, Tim Redding, Ronnie Belliard), or someone else?

Mark Zuckerman: I don’t see a trade happening in the immediate future, maybe as we get closer to July and the MLB trade deadline. As for who goes, well, Redding’s stock may be falling a bit after some tougher outings lately. Rauch is too valuable to the Nationals at the moment to trade, at least until Chad Cordero comes back (and maybe not even after that). Guzman definitely could draw some interest, as could Belliard if he stays healthy. I also know the Nationals are still trying to shop around Felipe Lopez (have been since spring training), but there haven’t been any takers to date.

Question: Have the Nationals mentioned whether they are going to be willing to go over MLB slot recommendations to get players signed? I’m specifically interested in Destin Hood (second round), Adrian Nieto (fifth round) and J.P. Ramirez (15th round). — Brian

Answer: As we saw last year, the Nationals didn’t hesitate to go above slot for a player they really, really liked and wanted to sign (Jack McGeary, who got first-round money despite being drafted in the sixth round). That probably will be the case again this year.



Elijah Dukes’ on-base percentage plus slugging percentage over his last 14 games.


Nationals RHP Jason Bergmann Record, ERA: 1-3, 5.23

Pirates LHP Tom Gorzelanny Record, ERA: 4-5, 6.83

Time: 12:35 p.m. TV: MASN

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