I could lament about the horrible weekend for the Nationals. Or pretend that only losing each game by 1 run meant it wasn’t so bad because they contended. But none of those things are cathartic enough to me. Instead I will write about one of those topics that has always made me feel better over these last 4 years or so – where the Nats might trade Cristian Guzman! Here are a few contenders that need middle infield help (and I’ve assessed their need for said position):
Boston – Marco Scutaro might not be much worse of a hitter than Guzman, depending on how you look at it. And he’s a better fielder. But Pedroia’s out for 6 weeks, and to take his place they are planning on throwing in newly acquired Eric Patterson? That guy makes Guzman look like an OBP machine. Need for help: HIGH
Tampa Bay – Quick, name their starting second baseman. Next to SS Jason Bartlett, who isn’t much of a masher himself, youngsters Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac may have a future, but it’s hard to imagine that future involves contributing greatly in 2010. A veteran presence may be something they’d want in there as well. Need for help: MEDIUM
Toronto – Let’s pretend this team, who is sitting pretty at 40-36 except for the fact that they’re behind NY, Boston and TB, wants to contend. Well, do you remember Aaron Hill? The guy who hit 36 homers last year? His AVG, OBP and SLG are all below Guzman’s at this point in the year. Need for help: MEDIUM
Minnesota – First place in the AL Central may award you a quick exit in the playoffs, but the Twins have the chance to contend. They’ve been rumored to be going for Cliff Lee, and Lee + Liriano would scare any opponent. Then again, looking at the offense that J.J. Hardy, Trevor Plouff, Matt Tolbert, and Nick Punto are providing on the left side of the infield, they may not be so intimidating. A return to the Twinkies would make sense. Need for help: MEDIUM-HIGH
Detroit – Just a half a game behind the Twins, the Tigers are battling with Ramon Santiago (who has lost all power) and Danny Worth getting most of the reps at SS. When 34 year old Carlos Guillen needs a rest, they’re both in there. Guzman fits into a team like this, and they could use him. Need for help: HIGH
Chicago White Sox – They’ve got two good young middle infielders, the problem is Gordon Beckham doesn’t seem to know it. Will they go for a veteran presence to spell his .204/.271/.279 bat? Possibly, but it’s likely in the form of their current veteran Omar Vizquel. Need for help: MEDIUM-LOW
Oakland – Ok, Oakland probably has the worst record on my list of contenders, but at 37-40, they’re not out of it. Maybe if they had listened to me at the beginning of the year and traded for Guzman then instead of playing Cliff Pennington fill time, they’d have a better record. Need for help: MEDIUM-HIGH
NY Mets – Luis Castillo’s contract is one that Mets fans love slightly less than Washington fans love Guzman’s. Possibly. Anyway, he’s hitting with much less ability this year and less power than Cristian, so it would make sense to get the Guz. Especially since they’re in a surprising 2nd place. Need for help: MEDIUM-HIGH
Cincinnati – Orlando Cabrera has a reputation as a good fielding shortstop with power who plays for winners. So maybe they’re content with that, but he’s hitting .240/.281/.329, and putting Paul Janish in as a sub isn’t going to be a long term solution. This is another team that seems like a great fit to me. Need for help: HIGH
St. Louis – Maybe the reason they haven’t run away with the central is their middle infield. Skip Schumaker and Brendan Ryan aren’t hitting, heck their best hitter in the middle is one Felipe Lopez. Perhaps a reunion is in store? Need for Help: MEDIUM-HIGH
San Diego – The Padres are leading the NL West thanks to pitching and defense, so maybe they’re happy with Eckstein and Hairston. Alternatively, Guzman’s .711 OPS would put him FOURTH on the team compared to anyone with more than 25 plates appearances. Need for Help: HIGH
Notice I didn’t list the teams that have a LOW need for help in my opinion. NY, Texas, Anaheim, Philly, and San Francisco have no reason to trade for him. Looking down this list, there are a bunch of teams that could really use some help in that middle infield. For as much crap as Guzman gets, he’s hitting better than a bunch of guys playing full or part time on contending teams. There’s a market for him somewhere, and with an expiring contract this year and little chance of a future with the Nats, a trade seems to be the smart move.
Don’t you feel better already?