All sorts of speculation has been made the last few days about who will start in the corner outfield spots, first base and second base. Spring performance and injuries will cause most of this to be resolved as spring training rolls on. We can only hope that a dearth of injuries and a strong performance from the second base candidates and also Nick Johnson make these decisions tough ones. Right now you can pencil in Zimmerman, Flores, Dunn, Guzman and Milledge as starters, barring injury. If Johnson has a very strong spring, he will either be traded or will start at first base. I think the Nats will do all they can to trade him so that Dunn can play first and it will then be easier to sort out the corner outfield spots. If he is healthy, performs well, and they can’t trade him, then that leaves Dunn in the outfield, and a huge glut of outfielders vying for the final starting spot. If several of them have a strong spring, look for at least one of them to get traded.
Why would someone want one of the Nats’ excess outfielders? A straight salary move. If a team can dump a $5 million salary and start a similarly-talented player who is making $500,000, they will be eager to do it. The Nationals would be happy to get some prospects or draft picks for one of them. Conversely, when these types of moves cause some established veterans to hit the market this spring, there may be someone of interest to the Nationals, provided they would sign for a lower salary so that they can keep playing.