Sep 7, 2009, 2:39 PM EDT
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals are considering moving shortstop Cristian Guzman to second base next season in an effort “to improve their middle-infield defense.”
Aside from a few random appearances at designated hitter, Guzman has played shortstop for every inning of his 10-year career, making 1,223 total starts there. His defense has never been great and at 31 years old the Nationals now view his glove as a clear weakness with one season and $8 million remaining on his contract.
According to Ladson, “they have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on ground balls” and “interim manager Jim Riggleman believes a foot injury” is to blame. Ultimate Zone Rating pegs Guzman as 2.0 runs below average in 106 games this season after grading him 3.4 runs below average in 136 games last year, so numbers-wise there hasn’t been a big change.
Ladson speculates that the Nationals would leave Guzman alone if they’re able to sign a veteran second baseman like Orlando Hudson this offseason, but barring that will “try to find a defensive-oriented shortstop” or turn to prospect Ian Desmond. Desmond never showed much promise offensively prior to this season, but the 23-year-old former third-round pick has hit .328/.400/.477 with 21 steals in 96 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year.
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