Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time to Sell High: Cristian Guzman?

The Nationals do not have much going for them right now. Their bullpen is atrocious. Lastings Milledge is in AAA. Elijah Dukes is hurt. Their starting rotation is young and inexperienced. And let's not forget to mention that the Nationals are already 20 games under .500. And it's not even June yet.


Even though the team has struggled mightily, Crisitian Guzman has performed very well so far for the Nationals. Signed to a 2 year/$16 million dollar extension last July, Guzman is hitting a robust .340 this season, which is seventh best in the National League. Despite the fact that Guzman almost never walks, he has established himself as an above average shortstop at the dish.

But the reality is this: the Nationals do not need Guzman. They are a terrible team with Guzman and I'm sure they would be a terrible team without him. Sure Guzman is having a career season, but those numbers have done nothing to turn around the disaster that is the Washington Nationals.

So while GM Mike Rizzo has officially put Nick Johnson, Josh Willingham, and Austin Kearns on the trading block; Guzman is the guy who the Nationals should look into moving. Guzman would be an attractive option to teams for a few reasons:

1. He is under contract through 2010

2. He is signed for a reasonable amount ($8 mil in 2010)

3. He is only 31 years old

4. He is one of the few quality SS, who could be available at the deadline

So with that in mind, if GM Mike Rizzo can move Guzman for a couple of prospects, then he should absolutely do it. The Nationals are not going to be competitive for at least another couple seasons, long after Guzman is gone. Rizzo should be focusing solely on building for the future, even if it means moving one of his best players.

There are two main issues with moving Guzman.

1. Firstly, who would the Nationals have to replace Guzman in the short term? Even though the Nationals will not compete, it's still important to have a capable defensive SS for the rest of the season in order to aid the development of the young pitchers.

2. And how would Nats fans react to such a move? It cannot be easy for a fan to watch the last place team trade away one of their best players.

But in my eyes, the pros outweigh the cons. The Nationals need to focus on the future even if it means moving a guy who is hitting .340. Sometimes the best moves are the ones that are tough to swallow in the present, but the Nationals are so far from competing that the present needs to be on the back burner.

So what do you think? Should the Nationals move Guzman?


tHeMARksMiTh said...

The only thing I have against this is it goes against why they would get Adam Dunn. They signed him for two seasons to bring in attendance (they aren't going to win in two seasons), but now, they want to trade one of their marketable players? I guess you could make the argument that they actually intended to sign Dunn to trade him for prospects. Regardless, it would be just another reason not to go to a Nationals game.

jorgesaysno said...

My arguement for Dunn would be this:

He makes Zimmerman such a better player by his mere presence that keeping Dunn helps Zimmy's development.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Good point.