With Ian Desmond named as the starting SS, the Nats now have a backup infielder who also happens to be their 2nd highest paid player. Cristian Guzman is someone that the Nats would probably love to trade, to get any sort of value for him. They may want to wait a month to make sure Desmond doesn’t stink it up, but if he’s alright, they’d be happy to move Guzman. And if they were to get some talent in exchange, they’d probably be willing to eat some of his contract.
There are only a few teams out there that might want a veteran SS that can hit in spurts and has an expiring contract. Here’s my list:
Boston – Right now they have Marco Scutaro as their starter, and he can hit… sometimes. He’s also had some pretty bad years. But I don’t expect Boston to want someone like Guzman – low OBP, questionable fielding – they’re probably not in the running unless Scutaro actually gets hurt for the year.
Detroit – The Tigers have Adam Everett as their starter right now. He can still field, but the last three seasons he has hit .231/.284/.322. They may lose patience but they do have youngster Brent Dlugach waiting. He’s not a stud prospect but he hit last year in AAA, they may be more inclined to use him or backup Ramon Santiago if they give up on Everett.
Houston – Right now Tommy Manzella is supposedly the starter. Jeff Keppinger is the backup. Neither is very impressive, if this team looks like it can contend, they may want to add someone there.
Kansas City – Right now they have Yuniesky Betancourt as their starter. Guzman is actually better than him, but come on, do you think KC is going to trade anything away for a rental? Sure, we can’t put anything past this organization, but really. Besides, they also have Mike Aviles ready to go.
Los Angeles – It’s a longshot, but they’re planning on starting Rafael Furcal, who has become a bit more fragile over the years. Their backup is the impressive fielding but young Chin-lung Hu, and we all know how Torre feels about youth over veterans. Plus it could reunite Guzman with Belliard! But this one is a real longshot, and would require an injury.
Minnesota – J.J. Hardy is forecast to make a recovery this year by alot of people. But what if he doesn’t? He hit .229/.302/.357 last year. Now, would the Twinkies want to take back a guy they were more than happy to lose? Brendan Harris is a backup, but maybe they’d look for an upgrade.
New York Mets – Jose Reyes should be in soon, should be healthy, and should be playing a ton this year. But if he’s not, there’s not a ton of backup options in the organization.
Oakland – Cliff Pennington is their starting shortstop. If you haven’t heard of him, you’re not alone. He’s not much of a fielder, but he hit last year. If he can keep hitting, he’s fine, if not, they’re gonna have to look around. Guzman seems the opposite of their kind of player, but there aren’t too many options out there early in the season.
That’s about it. Now, if injuries set in, some teams may be more inclined to make a trade than others. But without that, the options that Washington has for dumping, er, trading Guzman, are somewhat limited.