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Inbox: What second baseman would fit?

Inbox: What second baseman would fit?

Is there a pending free-agent second baseman that can fit the Nationals' needs -- defensively and offensively? If so, can they sign him?
-- Ken C., Frederick, Md.

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted that I would be writing about Orlando Hudson for the third year in a row. You know what? I changed my mind. The Nationals have a second baseman for 2011. His name is Danny Espinosa. He is the answer. I believe Pat Corrales, the team's senior assistant in player development, when he said Espinosa is the best all-around player in the organization. Espinosa and Ian Desmond will make a great double-play combination in 2011.

What, if anything, can the Nationals do to beg, borrow or steal some game-situation awareness for Nyjer Morgan? It looks like he has only one approach -- ultra-aggressive -- which never changes. The results are colossal mistakes. He seems to have the physical tools, but he often misses the cutoff man and gets picked off. Now he's getting into malcontent territory.
-- Lee H., Silver Spring, Md.

I said this from Day 1: When Morgan is on top of his game, the Nationals are going to win a lot of games. That hasn't been the case this year -- offensively or defensively. Why? I don't have the answers.

The Nationals have to think long and hard on what to do with Morgan after this season. If he stays with Washington, I don't see him being a leadoff hitter nor an everyday player in 2011. I could see the Nationals trying to trade Morgan this offseason, but I don't see them getting a lot in return. I had people in the organization tell me that he should be a fourth outfielder. I don't see that happening. I think Morgan would be an unhappy camper.

Who should be the Nationals' leadoff hitter for the remainder of the season?
-- Alex C., Montreal

I think we are going to see rotation of guys the rest of the way, with Adam Kennedy getting most of the playing time. Don't get used to it. I don't see Kennedy coming back next season, and I expect the Nationals will try to get a leadoff hitter this offseason. Will it be Carl Crawford, who is a free agent? I don't know.

Do you think Stephen Strasburg's injury is the result of him being rushed in the Majors?
-- Troy D., Washington

The answer is a resounding no. The team did everything it could to make sure he stayed healthy. The club monitored his innings and took him out of games when he needed to come out. I don't think the Nats should have done anything differently.

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Where is catcher Jesus Flores? Is he healthy? What happened to him?
-- Pat R., Washington

I was told two weeks ago by a member of the organization that Flores is done for the season, although general manager Mike Rizzo is holding out hope that he could be back during the month of September. The good thing is Flores is throwing to the bases and taking batting practice.

I'm tired of hearing that the Nats should not re-sign Adam Dunn because of his "below-average" defense. He committed only eight errors so far this year. He has a fielding percentage of .993 that is more than respectable.
-- Phil F., Quebec City, Canada

You remind me of when I was teenager. Take Dunn's name away and I was saying those same things about Dave Kingman after the Mets traded him to the Padres in 1977.

The reality is, Dunn plays in the National League and defense is important. I understand that fact. Dunn's defensive stats are misleading. He doesn't have the range to play the position and he makes silly mistakes. A lot of people forget this: Defense is the No. 1 reason the Nationals have the record they have.

If Dunn is re-signed, make sure you have a superior second baseman, who can go far to his left. I believe Espinosa is the answer.

With the trade for Wilson Ramos, should the Nationals trade Derek Norris?
-- Zack S., Vienna, Va.

The answer is no. Since they have been in Washington, the Nationals have had problems with their catching depth. If Ramos goes down with an injury, who else do you have? There is no guarantee that Flores will be back. How many years does Ivan Rodriguez have left? It's too dicey right now.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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