Dusty Baker offers glimpse into lineup construction

VIERA, Fla. - Dusty Baker readily admits he's been scribbling out potential lineups since he was named Nationals manager in November, but he genuinely doesn't know yet what that lineup will actually look like once opening day arrives.

"Not until I see them," he said. "I got an idea. But I can't tell you, because you're going to make up my lineup."

Well, yeah, we all do tend to try to predict lineups before the manager does. It's human nature.

Baker did offer some insight, though, into his general philosophy about lineup construction, most notably when it comes to his No. 2 hitter.

"I want my No. 2 guy to have bat control," he said. "I want my No. 2 guy to be the smartest hitter in the lineup, really. ... Contact guy. A guy that can hound the bat. A guy that's not afraid to take pitches to let the leadoff man run. Drive in a few runs, score some runs. Depends how the other guys (do) behind him. And he's a double leadoff man, when your leadoff man isn't getting on."

Anthony-Rendon-batting-red.jpgHmm, think Anthony Rendon might fit that description? Then again, so does Jayson Werth. Or maybe Ryan Zimmerman. Or even

Point is, Baker has plenty of options. He could go with a lineup that looks like this ...

CF Ben Revere
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
SS Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos

Or he could go with something like this ...

CF Ben Revere
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
SS Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos

Or he could go this way ...

CF Ben Revere
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Jayson Werth
SS Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos

Or he could even go with ...

LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
CF Ben Revere

And all of this assumes Espinosa is the starting shortstop, not Stephen Drew or Trea Turner (which would shake things up). And it doesn't account for the possibility of Michael A. Taylor starting in either left or center fields.

In other words, don't expect any resolution to the lineup question for awhile.

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