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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A lineup for the future, Nationals-style

By David Schoenfield

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said he's comfortable with the team's options at first base for 2012 -- either Mike Morse, who hit 31 home runs in 2011, or Adam LaRoche, if he can return from shoulder surgery.

Still, I have dreams of the Nationals going after Prince Fielder. Give the big guy the contract he wants. And then the Nationals could roll out this lineup in 2013:

SS Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Prince Fielder
LF Mike Morse
CF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos

Don't tell me that wouldn't be a fun team to watch. Enough with worrying about defense and playing scrappy little glove guys who can't hit. Let's bring back the late '90s and roll out a softball lineup. Yes, maybe this squad would be a stretched a bit defensively ... but not as much as you may think. Espinosa played second as a rookie but came up through the minors as a shortstop. Werth has played center field at various times in his career and would be adequate there, although he'll probably start losing some speed in a couple years. Morse is best suited for first base but has played some outfield. Rendon would be the big question mark; the team's first-round pick in 2011, he played third base at Rice but may be tried at second.

And don't forget: the team's manager is Davey Johnson, who once played Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson at shortstop, and Gregg Jefferies at second base.

OK, maybe it's a long shot. Make it happen, Mike. And then trade for Cole Hamels.