Sports

Picking Splinters: Mail Call: NFL Draft, Favre to Yanks’ Struggle

Mike,
Looks like the Redskins took your advice and drafted for need rather than splash. What do you think of their haul?

Joe G.

Mike,
Looks like the Redskins took your advice and drafted for need rather than splash. What do you think of their haul?
Joe G.

The best thing Washington did for itself was sitting tight while the New York Jets moved up to select Mark Sanchez. Given the Skins’ history, this could not have been easy for them. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone strapped Daniel Snyder into one of those Six Flags roller coaster restrainer seats and didn’t let him up until after everything was over.

I still think Washington’s most dire need is on the offensive line, but by the time their pick rolled around, the best tackles were off the board. At that spot, DE Brian Orakpo made a lot of sense and should make an impact in Year One lining up next to Albert Haynesworth.

I still think the Redskins need young offensive lineman and I’m disappointed they didn’t take any on draft day, but without a second-round pick (thank you, Jason Taylor) the cupboard was as empty as the seats at Nationals Park by the time Washington selected again. It’s a good haul, but unless there are more changes to the line, QB Jason Campbell still won’t have a lot of time to operate this season.

Mike,
What’s your take on the Nationals for the remainder of the year? Is there any hope for a halfway decent season or are they destined for the basement again?
Jim B.

If the Washington Nationals were a bottle of fine wine, then yes, the future would be bright. But since that’s about the only scenario in which a long-term stay in the cellar is seen as a good thing, the outlook on the Southeast Waterfront ain’t so hot.

Beyond this season? That’s another story. Washington’s offense has really jumped this season behind a blossoming Ryan Zimmerman, the still smoking Cristian Guzman and free agent heavy hitter Adam Dunn. The Nats finished 28th in the majors last season in runs scored. Through Tuesday night they ranked 12th. That would be a big turn if they can sustain it for the season.

The problem is that the Nationals staff, particularly its bullpen, is about as sturdy as meringue. However, Jordan Zimmerman has been solid and John Lannan is rounding into form. Come the draft, Washington should add the top pitching prospect in baseball in San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg. That makes for a nice, young foundation of top three starters.

Until then, I hear that Teddy Roosevelt is already attending a class at Georgetown University titled “Living With Loss.” Perhaps, the Nats can audit it.

Mike,
Exactly how desperate are the Nationals for a pitcher of Stephen Strasburg’s caliber? I’m just, uh, curious.
Scott B.

If the Nationals were limping through the desert for five years without water, Strasburg would be an Empire State Building-sized bottle of Poland Spring. The Nationals fans sure feel like they’ve played a role in that metaphor and if they don’t get it, they’re going to go all “Alive” on whoever decided to pass him up.

Look, I know he’s going to be expensive. I know there are no guarantees with young pitchers. But you have no choice. Pay the man. Empty the coffers. Bring chests of myrrh if that’s what he’s into. Just get him signed.

Worse comes to worse, go ask the President to tack on a few extra million into the federal budget. That thing’s so bloated, it would look like Washington was asking for a Tic-Tac. And if anyone needs a bailout, it’s Nationals fans.

 

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