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Breaking news: Rauch traded, Guzman re-signed

On the same day, the Nationals determined the futures of their two most valuable veterans. They traded closer Jon Rauch to Arizona and they signed all-star shortstop Cristian Guzman to a two-year contract extension, keeping him with the team through 2010. UPDATE: Guzman reports that the deal is worth $16 million (which is just $800,000 less than they paid for him over four years when he originally signed in the fall of 2004).

In exchange for Rauch, Washington acquired prospect Emilio Bonifacio, whom the team clearly now identifies as its second baseman of the future. Bonifacio will report initially to Class AAA Columbus. He had entered the season as Arizona's No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball American. To fill Rauch's roster spot, Washington recalled pitcher Garrett Mock from Class AAA Columbus.

Rauch's contract secures him for Arizona through next year, when he'll make $2 million. He also has a $2.9 option for 2010. This season, Rauch moved into the closer's role because of repeated health problems of Chad Cordero. And in that role, Rauch became the team's most reliable bullpen arm. In 48 games before the trade, Rauch was 4-2 with 17 saves and a 2.98 ERA. He had been with this franchise even before its move to DC, joining the club in a July 2004 trade with the Chicago White Sox.

Guzman, meanwhile, was Washington's lone all-star representative this year. (Rauch had been the only other to merit much consideration.) He had been in the final year of a four-year, $16.8 million deal, the first three years of which had been marred by underperformance. Only this year has Guzman become the shortstop Washington always hoped he would be, batting .310 with 129 hits. Chances are, Guzman and Bonifacio will be next year's middle infielders. Guzman's agent, Stanley King, said today that Guzman would like to finish his career in DC.

As for Bonifacio, he has just 35 career major league at bats -- good for a .200 average. Washington's team release about the trade identifies Bonifacio as somebody who was the "potential to develop into a solid leadoff hitter and outstanding defensive second baseman." This year in the minors, with Class AAA Tuscon, Bonifacio was batting .302 with one home run and a .348 on-base percentage.

Some quick reaction...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
 
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Next: Bowden on trade, contract

Comments

excellent

Posted by: thenational | July 22, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Who will be the new closer for the Nationals now that Rauch is gone?

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Holy Guacamole Batman!

Posted by: Fake Robin | July 22, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Also, the fact that Baseball American called him #6 in the Dbacks system...that's good news. What were they ranked for overall farm? I imagine Top 5 right?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 22, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Never mind, they were 15. Hmm... Well if Rizzo knew and approved, I'm on board.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 22, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Is Rauch going to close for the Dbacks? Brandon Lyon's been awful recently. How much is Guzzie's deal for?

Posted by: Mary | July 22, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Probably a good trade, although I'm sorry to see Rauch go. I'd like to know how much they're paying Guzman. I have to say they should be prepared to trade him in the next year, because I think he's about to eat his way out of being a shortstop and his bat isn't good enough anywhere else. Still, I think these are good moves, small steps down the path.

Posted by: baltova | July 22, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Comments from diamondbacks.com...

"I am happy we went out and got a good reliever. I didnt want to see Boni go but I think this will workout pretty good for the D-backs."

"I really hate to see Bonifacio go, but we desperately need BP help."

Replying to a Nats fan asking for details, "One thing for sure...He's the fastest man on earth. Other than that......Time will tell how well he'll do in the Majors."

"Losing Bonifaco is immaterial as he can't hit major league pitching and while we won't re-sign O-Dog for $8 or $9 million this winter (nor should we) versus his $6.2 million this year, we have lots of potential 2nd basemen."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Bonifacio, 23, hit .167 in 12 at-bats for the D-backs this year while playing sparingly at second and in the outfield. He hit .217 in 23 at-bats last year.

Signed as a free agent by the D-backs in 2001, Bonifacio has tremendous speed and hit .302 this year for Triple-A Tucson after compiling a .285 average last year with 41 steals in 54 attempts.

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm on board with Hanrahan closing.
***************************************
Who will be the new closer for the Nationals now that Rauch is gone?

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 5:47 PM

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

And so it begins...

Sad to see Rauch go, but at least they've traded him at the peak of his value.

Imagine that Hanrahan inherits the closer role.

Tend to think that an infield trade or two are still in the offing.

Posted by: Metamorphosis | July 22, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I think either Hanrahan or Rivera will get it. Hopefully, not Ayala.

Posted by: rx985 | July 22, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Can we start calling Ayala the opener?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Poor return. The guy has a .735 OPS in AAA, and for all the talk about his speed, he's only stealing at a 68% clip. If Rauch was going to be a free agent, that would be one thing, but he's locked up through 2010. Here's to hoping Rizzo knows something the numbers don't show.

Posted by: What? | July 22, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

All Hail, Ray King's Gut Feeling, who predicted a two year deal with Guzman! What a happy day!

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Bonifacio listed as the 6th ranked prospect was before Anderson and Gonzalez were traded to OAK...he probably was the 3rd best guy in their system right now behind Sherzer and Parker.

Adios Felipe.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 22, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that Ayala will get the nod for Closer. I hope I'm wrong though. I prefer Hanrahan or Rivera. Shoot, I'll even take Colome over Ayala.

Posted by: Pablo | July 22, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that they ought to have gotten more than a light hitting prospect for Rauch. After all, a lot of contending teams like the Brewers are begging for a closer like Rauch and the Brewers farm system is packed with good prospects.

Posted by: Mike Hunt | July 22, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Give Hanrahan the ball at the end of games. Can Luis "Gasoline Alley" Ayala be the next reliever traded? Hopefully this trade opens the door to the eventual and expedited jettisoning of FLop. Re-signing Guzzie a good move for two reasons - if the Nats keep him it will stabilize the middle infield and he may be a more attractive trade option now that his contract has been extended allowing for cost-certainty.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Fair winds and following seas, Wookie! May you and your family be very happy in 'Zona! And thanks for some wonderful memories!

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

flynnie

there are no seas in the desert.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

506BM, did you inform the Dbacks fan that claimed he was "the fastest man on Earth" about Willie Harris?

Or does Willie Harris not count since he routinely saves us from space marauders, and thus, is not on Earth?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 22, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Horrible trade!

per rotoworld:

Diamondbacks acquired RHP Jon Rauch from the Nationals for 2B Emilio Bonifacio.

An outstanding pickup for Arizona's pen at a small cost. Rauch probably won't close initially, but he can be a fallback if Brandon Lyon continues to struggle. He'll upgrade the eighth inning and push Tony Pena and Chad Qualls back to the sixth and seventh innings. Theoretically, it gives the Diamondbacks one of the best setup corps in baseball. Bonifacio wasn't going to be the answer at second base next year if Orlando Hudson leaves, so it's no problem giving him up in this one, particularly with Rauch under control through 2010 ($2 million in 2009, $2.9 million option in 2010). Jul. 22 - 5:25 pm et

Posted by: No Thanks | July 22, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

2 years $16MM for Goozie

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is not a man, he's a god.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

What's all this "light hitting prospect" stuff. I hit .300 in AAA this year too, so this new guy must be good with the stick.

Posted by: Ryan Langerhans | July 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I laughed hard at this one- Section 506- "Can we start calling Ayala the opener?"

Posted by: John | July 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

It's "High Tide in Tucson" (apologies to Barbara Kingsolver) now!

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Gulp. Deep breath - I'm on board with the "I trust Rizzo's knowledge of the D-backs system," but I'm really worried about a guy who's never had a career .340 OBP in six years of minor league ball - batting eye develops late, but where some folks are seeing Nook, I see Endy Chavez - he might have slap power to leg out doubles and the occassional triple, but if he doesn't get on base at at least a .350-.360 clip, all the speed in the world won't make a difference. I'm not really concerned about power if he's going to hit leadoff, but I do worry about getting on base.

That said, I think it's symptomatic of what some of you guys were saying - Rauch is a good setup man for a good team and he was never going to get more valuable than he was right now, so I'm happy to make a deal - I just hope E-Bone can develop a batting eye.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 22, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea here for sure. Rauch was a luxury on this team. Middle Infield is what we need. If this the best guy.....how would we know? It is Jimbo's job to know, let us hope many of us are wrong about how poor a GM he is.

231, can we cut Lopez now.....please?

Posted by: JayB | July 22, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

But I'm ok with that number.

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Who takes Rauch's roster spot?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 22, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to try and be optimistic about this. I'm not thinking "another Nook Logan." I'm going to think, "another Jose Reyes."

Bonifacio's minor league stats:

6 seasons; 648 games; 2543 AB's
.283/.339/.360
12 HR; 216 RBI
209 BB; 528 K
226 SB; 65 CS (78%)

Jose Reyes' minor league stats:

4 seasons; 343 games; 1303 AB's
.285/.338/.423
13 HR; 135 RBI
101 BB; 217 K
129 SB; 44 CS (75%)

Sure, the strikeouts are a concern, but he has cut down on them some this season.

Reyes didn't start hitting homers until his second full season with the Mets.

Posted by: e | July 22, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Wagner is my guess, LDO.

Posted by: Section 138 | July 22, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

The Times says Guz's deal is 2 years at 8 mil per.

Speculation is that Wagner takes Rauch's roster spot.

Since Bonifacio "needs more seasoning at AAA," we'll probably see Fail-ipe for the rest of the year (unless we can sucker someone into trading for him).

Posted by: DCSportsPlus.blogspot.com | July 22, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

138

two years, $16 m for guzman? the nats are willing to pay guzman TWICE his yearly salary for two more years? that can't be right.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

SO, THE TEAM IS IN SF, I TRADE AWAY MY CLOSER A DAY AFTER LEAVING MANNY SHORTHANDED IN ATL... WHO AM I GOING TO CALL UP? EH, FORGET IT, I'LL JUST LEAVE THINGS BE. WHAT DOES MANNY NEED ANOTHER PLAYER FOR?

Posted by: JimBow | July 22, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Not a fan of this trade. Seems like we gave up a workhorse closer with good numbers and who can setup or close depending on the situation with a GREAT contract for a lighthitting 2nd baseman prospect who hasn't been able to hit major league pitching in two callups yet, nor is lighting it up in AAA. damn, i thought we'd get more for him.

Hanrahan closes, and we bring up Sanches or maybe even Zinicola or Warden to do setup work and add to the bullpen. We can 60-day DL Chico or Pena to clear the roster spot for someone. Next move after that is to trade/release/DFA one of our catchers to bring up another bullpen arm.

Posted by: Sec131 | July 22, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

8 million a year is wayyyy too much.

Posted by: Bergmann on Man | July 22, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"who hasn't been able to hit major league pitching in two callups yet"

You're right. Give up on a guy who's had 35 AB's in the majors.

Posted by: e | July 22, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I love Guzman, but $8 mil per? Good Lord.

And I saw Bonifacio in the order three years ago when his name was Endy Chavez.

The Plan took a turn for the worse today.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | July 22, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Too early. Rauch was a high-demand player and Bowden flipped him for a prospect who, if he plays to his best projection, would still be right around league average. You fell like he could have gotten more. On the good side, Kasten gets to dump one the few remaining 1M+ earners on the club. Go $tan!

Posted by: Maximus | July 22, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Ahcrap, who do I pick up to replace Rauch on my roto squad? Hanrahan?

Posted by: Daz | July 22, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I like trading for a middle infielder but with Rauch's performance and contract I thought they would get a little more. Still, Rizzo know's the D'Back's minor league players so I'm hopeful.

Rauch was easy to trade because he was having a great year and his contract is very reasonable.

Let's see how they do with Lopez and their other 'assets'!!!!!

Could Rauch dunk a basketball? I hope so at 6'11"!

Posted by: Expos Fan | July 22, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I think this is a good trade. Rauch is going to breakdown. His arm is going to fall off and he will have shoulder problems sooner rather than later. It's inevitable.

Rauch has made the most appearances (221) in MLB since the beginning of 2006

Posted by: Nats Fan 7 | July 22, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

e, the most important stat you cited in the Reyes-Bonaficio comparison is "Reyes - four years/Bonaficio - six years" Reyes didn't start hitting for power until his second year in MLB because he was 20 in his first big-league year. His first three MLB years were the last three years Bonaficio just had. At 23, Reyes was .300/.354/.487(!!) in MLB. Bonaficio at the same age was .302/.348/.387 in AAA - so let's hold off on the "he's Reyes" stuff - he's Reyes minus the power, which makes him like any other slap-hitting, defense-first MI guy. He might develop, and I sure hope he does, but for my money, except for Hanley Ramirez, Reyes is the second-best shortstop in MLB.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 22, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

for those of you asking who will fill the roster spot, chico addressed that.

"To fill Rauch's roster spot, Washington recalled pitcher Garrett Mock from Class AAA Columbus."

Posted by: 231 | July 22, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I have to leave to go home now, but I'll try and check back later.

What I want to know is, all of the posters that earlier this season thought the Nats did a TERRIBLE job of not trading Cordero last year, noting that the overworked bullpen was due to amass a serious injury ... are you for or against the Rauch trade? Is this the same kind of scenario as last season?

A reliever that's thrown a TON of innings in the past couple of seasons, has a history of injury, closing for a team that has no chance of winning right now, traded for a AAA-prospect that plays a good 2B, has tons of speed, and may or may not hit for a decent average in the bigs. Good or bad?

Posted by: e | July 22, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

You guys are going to be pissed when you see what I get from Mil for Sherrill. Hahaha! Losers.

Posted by: Andy MacPhail | July 22, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

As I jut said...

I think this is a good trade. Rauch is going to breakdown. His arm is going to fall off and he will have shoulder problems sooner rather than later. It's inevitable.

Rauch has made the most appearances (221) in MLB since the beginning of 2006

Posted by: Nats Fan 7 | July 22, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

@Highway 295 Revisited --

I just said that I'm TRYING to be optimistic and HOPE that he's more of a Reyes type and not a Nook type.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 22, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

While I approve of re-signing Guzman, the speculated $8 mil per year is FISCAL INSANITY. Earlier, I wrote that with Guzman under contract for two additional years it might make it easier for the Nats to trade him because the buying team would have cost certainty. But if the $8 million figure is true, this another unmovable Meat Loaf contract. Whatever happened to Guzie's agent alluding that his client might give the team a hometown discount?

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

In Rizzo we trust. We shall see. Potentially, Rausch, with an option in 2010 would opt out and be under control through 2009. I'm not sure about the young man from AZ, but alas, now was the time to trade Rausch.

You will be missed Wookie. How does this hurt the Nats off-season Basketball team? Looks like we need a C (but as long as Willie Harris is running the point, do you really need 4 other players?)

Posted by: joNAThan | July 22, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Some more analysis ...

"Is Arizona the new Cincinnati? Bowden used to love dealing for players on his old team (Austin Kearns, Willy Mo Pena, Jose Guillen, Ryan Wagner, etc., etc., etc.). Now it's Asst. GM Mike Rizzo, the former Director of Scouting with the Diamondbacks, grabbing from his old team. Washington previously acquired Matt Chico and minor leaguer Garret Mock from Arizona for Livan Hernandez."

http://pickingsplinters.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Bowden's Leather Britches | July 22, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

While I'm initially skeptical about the return the Nats got for Rauch, I would rather that Jimbo make the trade than not make a trade (see: Chad Cordero, 2007).

Posted by: John | July 22, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

mea culpa, Rausch has a club, not player option for 2010, which I'm sure would be picked up. God I hope Bonifacio can play!

Posted by: joNAThan | July 22, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Ladson just confirmed that the Nats are going to pay Guzman $8 million per on his new contract. So, that means he's going to get paid twice his current salary for playing 2 1/3 years of his current four-year contract? Sign me up, JimBow.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Baseball America calls the trade a wash and says that (brace yourselves) Bonifacio this season "could supplant struggling second baseman Felipe Lopez and outsized veteran Ronnie Belliard."

Should we check 1 item off of Sheinin's list and say goodbye to Felipe?

Posted by: joNAThan | July 22, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

So wait, I though the Lerners were cheap? why'd they fork over 8 mil per?

Posted by: SF Fan | July 22, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Short term-- this trade will cost us a few more losses this season.
Long term--we get a middle infield prospect and a better chance for the number 1 pick.

Short term--our bullpen gets reconfigured decidedly, we find out quickly the mettle of Hanrahan or Rivera as a closer.
Long term--we see Mock as a reliever? Ewwww.

Rauch was getting hit hard in the last 30 days. Perhaps this is the highest value for him and maybe he was getting figured out by the league or was just getting physically tired.

Short term--we need a hitting coach to get Bonaficio to improve.
Long term-- we need a hitting coach.

Posted by: Dale | July 22, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

From mlbtraderumors.com:
Cristian Guzman Signs Extension With Nationals
By Tim Dierkes [July 22 at 4:55pm CST]

According to the Washington Times, the Nationals signed shortstop Cristian Guzman to a two-year extension today for a reasonable $16MM. It's a discount both in years and amount, based on comparable deals for shortstops. Nice signing by the Nationals.

So there's one positive view of the Guzie signing.

Posted by: J | July 22, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't seem that the Nats got much for Rausch. You would think they'd get a major-league ready player over a prospect.

And as others have said, they overpaid Guzzie. Exactly who were they competing against for his services? Reminds me of the D'mitri Young signing last year. I would rather have seen the $$$ go to Orlando Hudson in the offseason, and pick up someone else at SS if Guzzie had left.


Posted by: Ashburn | July 22, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

while i am not a red sox apologist, i wholeheartedly agree with what GM theo epstein once said about contract signings. epstein said that a contract is not only signed for the player, but also for the needs of the team in the present and future. what happens if guzman reprises 2006 and 2007 when he only played 46 games due to injury? then you have an unmovable eight million dollars per season clogging your payroll and limiting your personnel flexibility. i like what guzzie brings to the nats, but there is no way i would have signed a 30-year-old shortstop with a history of injuries to that kind of money. may he be injury-free for the duration of his extension.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I would rather have seen Guzman traded. But the contract, relative to what other free agent SS have signed over the last couple years is pretty good.

Guzman could & would have received a lengthier contract for more money/yr if he had gone to free agency. The pool of available SS's in 2009 is what some would call crappy. The Nats options were to overpay for an established SS (moreso than than what Goose will make) or sign a retread to a one year deal.

Some recent free agent SS deals:

- Lugo is in the middle of a 4 yr/36 mil deal
- Furcal is finishing a 3 yr/39 mil deal
- Wilson is in the middle of a 3 yr/20.2 mil deal
- Alex Gonzalez..3 yr/14 mil
- Renteria...4 yr/40 mil
- Cabrera...4 yr/32 mil

There are a bunch of guys locked in long term during their arbitration years or still team controlled whose contracts are still reasonable (Tulowitzki, Drew, Betancourt, Peralta, etc).

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 22, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Getting Bonifacio probably means they'll pass on Hudson, but the Cubs or someone else would have outbid them there, anyway, in all likelihood. Rauch was not part of the long term here--no middle reliever is ever long term, and very few closers are.
I'd like to see them get (and keep) somebody who can hit .300, but that's just me.

Posted by: CE | July 22, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Some other team was gonna pay Guzzie more if we didn't sign him. Then we'd have a ginormous gaping hole at short next year.

Posted by: Fredburg | July 22, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ.


"flynnie

there are no seas in the desert."

Posted by: The Red Sea | July 22, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? People are complaining about paying Guzie $16 Mill over 2 years? Really?

What happened to all the Lerner's are cheap people?

They paid to keep statistically our best player this year for two more years. Why do you care how much? He is going to stay a Nat! ENJOY IT! Its not like we are the ones paying.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

natsinthevalley

maybe the fans aren't directly paying, but don't be surprised if there are some higher prices next season at nats park.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 22, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

i dont even want to think about prices higher than they actually are this year...

Anyway, the prices are going to go up anyway, thats just how it works everywhere.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 22, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Re-signing Guzman doesn't really move the cheap/not cheap needle for me. They may be cheap, but they're not completely stupid. They'll do what they have to do to prevent a complete revolt so they can still sell some tickets. But will they do what they have to do to win? Different story...

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 22, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

@SF Fan - By spending $8 million on Guzie -the Lerners now feel they don't have to spend anymore on the draft or free agents in the offseason. Come on now. Can't you see the sinister evil plot of cheapness here.

I will be curious to see what the O's can get for Sherrill. So I am guessing here that we are probably stuck with Lopez and Lo Duca for the season. I expected that they would be traded as part of a package.

Posted by: Count Demoney | July 22, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Now all we need to do is add a Right Fielder and First Basemen via Free Agency. Please....no more Austin Kearns and Nick Johnson

Posted by: Jason Taylor | July 22, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Here's another thing to consider - with the recall of Mock to replace Rauch, does that move Bergmann to the BP? I hope not, because he seems a much better fit as a #4SP than he has been as a long-middle inning reliever. I'm also going on the record that the Rauch-Bonaficio trade was decent, but we probably got "short-sheeted".

Posted by: BIM | July 22, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I think I guesstimated Guzman would get at least 3 years $20 million on the open market, so this looks a bit front loaded but not out of line.

Rauch deal - I'm guessing they decided they were going to move Rauch for a middle infielder, and this was the best prospect they got back. Also, the progress towards signing Guzman probably made them look for 2d base rather than SS. Hopefully, the .348 will be maintained or improved. Otherwise, Bonifacio may have to learn to steal first. OBP is the most important skill for a lead off hitter.

So, does this mean we stand pat for next year and go with 2 Flores, 3 Johnson, 4 Bonifacio, 5 Zimmerman, 6 Guzman, 7 Dukes, 8 Milledge, and 9 Kearns?

Posted by: PTBNL | July 22, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with trading Rauch away. Good pitchers are a lot harder to find then other position players and Rauch has been the best pitcher the Nationals have had this year.

Posted by: Barry | July 22, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

From the AZ Snakepit blog:

"was hoping we'd be able to pull off a bit more for Bonifacio, but still satisfied with the bullpen help" formerly Seton Hall Snake Pit. The newer simpler version.by AJforAZ on Jul 22, 2008 5:47 PM EDT

"Ummm, who wants to break the bad news to them? ;)"

"Oh, I'd just let them work it out on their own"

"Well, I'm a bit nervous,simply because as one of the posters at FederalBaseball noted, Mike Rizzo KNOWS our farm system well.... I'm wondering whether he sees something that nobody else does?"

"He was signed by us out of the Dominican in 2001, IIRC."

"When he was 16."

The Diamondbacks trade Emilio Bonifacio"

"Great trade! Who'd we get?"

"Anytime you have the chance to get a 6'11, one biscut away from 300 lbs., gold medal winner, with a neck tatoo. Well.....that's just a move you have to make and its as simple as that. Looking forward to the Raunch era and I like the move."

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

If the O's can deal Sherill, they'll get more (on value) for him than the Nationals got for Rauch because other GM's respect/trust McPhail more than they do Bowden.

Posted by: BIM | July 22, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't love either move. $8 million seems a tad high for Guzman. He's having a good year but will he duplicate these numbers for the next two? I have my doubts. To be fair, he might be a reasonable stop-gap at short until we develop one of our own. I thought we would get more for Rauch. As badly as we need IF help, I would have thought we could do better than this. I was one of those hoping for the signing of Orlando Hudson. That's unlikely to happen now. I hope that Bonifacio (sp?) can hit and I trust Rizzo to know his former players. But I'm underwhelmed, at this point.

Posted by: grf15 | July 22, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The O's will get more for Sherrill because Sherrill is a better pitcher, left handed, and team controlled for three years.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 22, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

If he keeps up this kind of production, $8 million a year is about right. He's at least on par (I think better) with Julio Lugo who makes $9 mil/year and i'd call him half a valuable as Michael Young who makes $15 mil/year. And his deal will pale in comparison to some of the new one's these young SS's will get.

Can we ship FLop or Ronnie for anything before the deadline, please? Move Wee Wee to 2B one Lastings is back. We need to move Estrada too.

And Hanrahan has close stuff if he controls the fastball. I like today's moves a lot.

Posted by: JG | July 22, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

glad to see guzman resigned. fair deal. worth the extra money to have the flexibility in two years.

rauch was great and all but we are loaded in the minors with pitching. replacing a closer on a team that gets 60 wins isn't my primary concern. start working in the young guys and we'll find someone soon enough.

i like the focus on speed and defense. that's how you build a team.

Posted by: longterm | July 22, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman must be seeing mucho $$$$$ if Guzman is getting $8 million per year.

Posted by: Expos Fan | July 22, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Hard to separate the baseball sense from the emotion on the Wookie trade. Sad to see him go.

Those who think the Guzman contract is too high probably haven't adjusted their price tags to the new market. That's below the going rate for the position these days.

So really, there's still a chance he could be moved. Last season, Bowden claimed the extensions for Young and Belliard actually increased interest from suitors.

That is, if you believe Jim Bowden.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 22, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

closers with a 2.98 era, 17 saves anda 4-2 rcord usually bring back more than just a minor league 2nd baseman. hes a pitcher for gods sake. you tellin me he wasnt worth at least 2 maybe 3 players to a contender.
im not sayin the 2nd baseman aint gonna be good. who knows. im just sayin, az fleeced the nats. but whats new.

Posted by: dk | July 22, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd have preferred to get more for Rauch, since he was perhaps our most tradeable commodity. But there's really no way of knowing how Bonafacio will turn out. As for the Guzman signing, I say good for him. He saved his best year for his contract year, and he deserves it. Besides, I'd rather not be looking for a shortstop this offseason in addition to all the other holes that need to be filled. But putting up this much money for Guzman says to me that slot or no slot, they absolutely MUST sign Crow, or I'm going to change my name to Lerners Are Cheap!

Posted by: Section 222 | July 22, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Guzman's stock went up with that All-Star performance. His fielding was getting a lot of love from those in the know, and playing 3rd base for the 1st time in Yankee stadium against that batting order! If all the balls were hit to him instead of 1/10th to Uggala, the NL would've won! I'm very happy. Manny gives us such an insider's view of the talent in the Dominican, and Mike Rizzo of the talent in the D'back organization, I'm feeling good. Relief pitching is the least reliable commodity in baseball. We just got a 23 year old 2d basemen who's MLB ready except for plate discipline for a 30 year old reliever. Like Corey says, you got to give something to get something.

Posted by: flynnie | July 22, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, I kind of like the idea of giving Mock a shot out of the pen. One of the things not talked about in our scouting discussions earlier is the idea that, sometimes, a failed number four starter can become an effective long reliever. Perhaps, instead of back-of-the-rotation starters, we're developing a great core of relievers.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 22, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

btw guzman can play. he aint a one year wonder. i got no problem with his signing. hes an asset. but a pitcher for 1 2nd baseman. thats nuts.

Posted by: dk | July 22, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

My criticisms of Bowden and the Lerners are as follows: (1) they won't pay what it takes to build the team, (2) they're overpaying Guzman, (3) Bowden demands too much in return for trades so we never get any players for our veterans and, finally, (4) how could they trade Rauch for a guy I never heard of.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 22, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

to recap. rauch is a major league pitcher/closer. the 2nd baseman is a minor league prospect. how is that even. w t f.

Posted by: dk | July 22, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

If I have it correctly, FLop is eligible for free agency in 2009 (gudby, seeya). The teams' question is whether Bonaficio, Bergolla, or Rogelstad can step up from the minors next year? If not, we still have Belly under contract for '09, and we can hopefully offer Harris a deal as well.

Posted by: BIM | July 22, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

BIM, you should see the Nats' email alert to fans on these 2 transactions--it is a (well-earned) slap in Felipe's face. It states that the Nats "set in motion their double play combination of the future" today by re-signing Guz and trading for Bonifacio. I wonder if JimBo or Stan reviews these emails before PR/marketing sends them out?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 22, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

@JiM: Mock might work out as a long-middle inning reliever, but why thrust him into that position now? I'd rather have seen a LHR called up to support Manning.

Posted by: BIM | July 22, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

its like feast or famine for bowden. he either asks for a kins ransom and blows it like soriano or he gives away a top player for nuthin. when are they gonna get rid of bowden. please give him away. the guy is such a loser.

Posted by: dk | July 22, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, dk, we get it

You dont like Bowden. You dont like the trade.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 22, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@Cil: FLop is a decent ballplayer, but has been "copping a 'tude" for over a year; If he is truly a FA at the end of 2008, oh, well in my book. CHarlan hasn't pinpointed him as a locker-room problem, but I can't believe he has been a joy to be around either.

Posted by: BIM | July 22, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Let the Felipe Lopez trade watch begin.

Posted by: mcwop | July 22, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

For someone that's on the hotseat, Bowden didn't pull of any wonders with the Rauch trade. I would have rather held onto Rauch and pursue Hudson in the off-season. Surprised he hasn't pulled of a Dunn deal yet. If not that the best two deals he and the Lerners need to focus on, are signing Texiera and a Number 1 pitcher to set the tone of a more than mediocre rotation. I'd like to see Hudson added and deal with the glut at the catcher position.

Posted by: NoVANatsfan | July 22, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify my previous post. I would have rather received something more in return than what we got in the Rauch deal. I'm good with the idea of trading him, but I think we could have gotten more had we waited till closer to the deadline. I stand by the most pressing needs are a fearful power bat and an Ace of the staff. Thats a lot to request but two key acquisitions that HAVE to be made to become more respectable.

I'd like to see

1- Milledge CF
2- Guzman SS
3- Zim 3B
4- Texiera 1B
5- Dukes LF
6- Flores C
7- Kearns RF
8- Hudson 2B
9- Ben Sheets SP

Posted by: NoVANatsfan | July 22, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm an idiot. I cant even spell the closer's name correctly. Please disregard anything I say.

Posted by: JoNAThan | July 22, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

cool, while jimbo concentrates on toolsy former cincinatti reds rizzo can now corner the market on light-hitting dbacks!!!!!!!

oh and yay for guzy too! no way THIS guy is a contract year player

Posted by: PaperBag | July 22, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The proof will be in the pudding. The idea of the trade is a fine one, but it depends on what kind of player Bonifacio turns out to be. Based on his meager achievements to date, I think the Nats probably could have gotten more/better in return for Rauch.

That said, it's worth noting an old baseball axiom. A team is measured by its strength up the middle. With Flores and Guzman, we have two decent players, but we lacked quality in the other two slots. We're still looking for a centerfielder. However, if Bonifacio claims the 2nd base job, hits .270, draws walks, runs the bases, and plays strong defense, we'll be 3/4 of the way. That's a lot of ifs. Right now, I'd say it's over-optimistic, but I'll certainly be in the kid's corner.

We didn't have a decent bullpen before the trade, and the Nats aren't good enough to be worrying about a closer yet. So, as I wrote above -- the idea of the trade is a fine one. Clearly, Rizzo is rolling the dice on this kid. I can't offer any more of an opinion than that because I've never seen him play. We'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | July 22, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Bonifacio is an impatient slap hitter who projects for zero power. He will never have a high enough OBP to put him at the top of the order so the trade is for a bottom of the order hitter whose entire value is based on carrying a decent average and stealing bases. The good news is that he is good with the glove and is probably an upgrade over Lopez right now.

Posted by: tigger | July 23, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

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