Inbox: Why pick Detwiler over Lannan?
Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from fans
What was your reaction when the Nationals optioned John Lannan to Triple-A Syracuse and kept Ross Detwiler on the 25-man roster?
-- George H., Washington
I was not surprised at all. I made a prediction on Twitter two weeks ago that Detwiler would be in the rotation. Two days after the Nationals traded for Gio Gonzalez, I received a call from a baseball source telling me that the Nationals were looking to trade Lannan. The team felt, I was told, that Detwiler was ready to become a star pitcher. After all that time invested in Detwiler -- changing his delivery, among other things -- I thought the Nationals made the right decision in putting him in the rotation.
I can totally understand why Lannan was upset to be demoted, but the front office has been high on Detwiler for quite some time. He really impressed the front office during the second half of last season.
The Nationals have added some good names, including Mark DeRosa and Xavier Nady. However, why are they trying to get rid of Lannan while keeping Tom Gorzelanny? Gorzelanny is a liability and has never done his job.
-- Michael B., Epsom, N.H.
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I get a lot of questions about Gorzelanny, and people seem to forget that he had a good year as a long reliever in 2011. Don't go by what you saw in Spring Training. I'm expecting him to be a contributor this season.
How about DeRosa? He has really looked impressive. He has been what the Nats were missing last year -- a guy who shows great patience, works the count and puts the ball in play. I think the Nats would be foolish not to find a place for him in the lineup on a regular basis.
-- Thomas M., Washington
DeRosa is my wild card. I believe he will have a nice comeback season. Manager Davey Johnson wanted him on the team the moment he found out that Chris Marrero was going to miss the first half of the season because of a hamstring injury. It would not surprise me if DeRosa ended up with 10 homers on a part-time basis.
Everyone seems to believe that first baseman Adam LaRoche will not be with the Nationals in 2013. He's a plus defender, and if he puts up 30 home runs and drives in 90 runs, wouldn't the team want him back?
-- Bill D., Springfield, Va.
It's too early to think about LaRoche's future with the Nationals. I'm expecting him to have a comeback season with the bat. He already is the best defensive first baseman in Nationals history.
If he doesn't have a good year with the bat, there is no question in my mind that LaRoche will not return to the Nationals in 2013. It would not surprise me if Tyler Moore was given a chance to become the first baseman.
I know that it is already established that Bryce Harper will play center field at some point this year. But could he possibly be moved to left field in the future, so Eury Perez or Brian Goodwin could play center field at some point?
-- Kevin L. Olney, Md.
That is a possibility. Perez and Goodwin are highly touted prospects. It's too early to tell at this point. Let's watch Harper play the next few months before making that assessment.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.