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Seven Things To Know About the 2B/SS Situation

Lot's to go over here w/r/t Cristian Guzman, Ian Desmond, potential free agents, position changes, etc. It's all intertwined, but I'll try to distill everything as plainly as possible.

First: General manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman met on Thursday with Cristian Guzman to talk about a potential position change. Yes -- at this point, it's just a possibility. Guzman, to this point, has played 1,263 major league games, each and every one at shortstop. But the Nationals wanted open the possibility of a switch to second.

Guzman's position in 2010 will depend entirely on free agent/trade activity.

Here's the deal.

"We need a middle infielder," Rizzo said. "An everyday middle infielder. He's one of the two guys. If we're lucky enough to get a second baseman, he stays at short. If what we can get and makes sense for us is a shortstop, we broached the question that he goes to second."

Second: What was Guzman's reaction? Friday, he declined to comment on the matter, but don't read too much into that; he is often reluctant to speak with the media.

Rizzo said that Guzman "was taken by surprise by [the suggested position change]. And that was another reason why we posed the question to him now rather than later. You know, his response was, He's never played second base before. I gave him a laundry list of great players who have continued their careers moving from shortstop to second base, and it kind of sunk in and made some sense. I think that he's a major leaguer, he's a pro, and I think he wants to help the ballclub. If we can rationally show him that this is the best thing for the ballclub, I think he'll jump in with in."


Third: Riggleman on Friday said, rather emphatically, that Guzman's feelings on the potential switch shouldn't even matter. "As far as him being open to it," Riggleman said, "that's really not even a factor. We'll make a call on that; the player doesn't make the call on that... It's a pretty natural thing. A lot of times we think, 'Oh, heaven forbid, we don't want to ruffle any feathers with a ballplayer.' But I mean, Robin Yount, Michael Young, David Eckstein, Cal Ripken -- many guys have moved off shortstop. Whatever you can do to win. Pete Rose comes to spring training: 'Where am I playing this year, skip?' It didn't stop him from getting 4,200 hits. He played first, second, third and left field and went to the all-star game at all four positions, because that's what Sparky Anderson needed. It's about what's best for the team."

Fourth: If the Nats acquire a 2B for next year, Rizzo has no problem, none whatsoever, of keeping Guzman at shortstop.

Fifth: Guzman will not be used at second base at any time this year.

Sixth: The Nationals will begin to give Ian Desmond, the shortstop recalled from Class AAA on Tuesday, some practice time at second base. This will merely enable the team to potentially get him some in-game innings at second base this September. Both Riggleman and Rizzo said unequivocally that they view Desmond's future at shortstop.

Seventh: Whatever the position of Acquired Middle Infielder X, Rizzo prefers him to be "defensively oriented." When I asked Rizzo a question about acquiring somebody more along the lines of a Dan Uggla-profile -- big bat, defensive liabilities -- he didn't rule it out, but said, "I'm looking more to a really good defensively-oriented middle infielder to obviously help our pitching staff."

*

Unrelated to SS/2B.

Dmitri Young visited Land Shark Stadium on Friday to catch up with his old Nationals' teammates. Oft-injured, Young spoke with delight of his summer away from baseball and said he hadn't yet made up his mind whether he wanted to play in 2010. This definitely deserves its own post... check some time Saturday for the DY Q&A. He didn't flat-out say the word -- "retirement" -- but he sure seemed ready for it. Also looked fitter than I ever saw him in 2008 or early-2009. Also happier.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 11, 2009; 6:38 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats 5, Marlins 3

Comments

A shortstop with great range combined with Zimmerman would be like the old Phillies Bowa/Schmidt infield. Guzman better not make a stink about moving over if we can get some young hotshot as shortstop.

Posted by: thegraneys | September 11, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Henley Ramirez, shortstop, Washington Nationals. Make it happen Mike Rizzo ... ;)

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

And Chico? You have two "eights" in your line up for FLA? Who's in left field?

I meant Hanley Ramirez above.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Ball is rising on JD, if he doesn't get it down he is going to get into more trouble against this team. May partially be the weather?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

I can also "speculate" about a Hanley Ramirez trade? I suppose it would be okay to part with Guzman, Desmond and perhaps even Espinosa plus some pitching?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"Also looked fitter than I ever saw him in 2008 of early-2009." This doesn't make any sense - quit trying to play baseball and get in shape? Come on, Meathook.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | September 11, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Martin's speed looks way down again ... wonder if he's pitched too many innings?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Lot's to go over here"
Lot's wife?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 11, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Speed is coming up .. but he was doing 88-91 earlier in the season. Now he's 84-87?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Dmitri-

Do what you wish. You will not play for us again, and you benefited greatly from Jim Bowden's delusions. Thanks for one season, and my fun bobblehead. You represent a great savings in next year's budget, and the Lerners daggone well better make good use of it.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 11, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, be a lert there's lots to go over and there aren't enough lert's in the world.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

If Guzman moves to 2nd, we can try to get a more offensively focused SS, since skills going to your left are far less important at 2nd than at SS. I think its a wise move; hopefully he looks at his (over inflated, lucky to have gotten) $8M paycheck and says, "Whatever I can do to help the ballclub."

Love Desmond; why would he get any reps at 2nd when Orr is hitting .324? Oh i know why; because Riggleman needs to play Gonzales more to continue to prove just how feeble he is at the plate. That way, both of them can ride the pine for 3 more weeks. Idiot.

Posted by: tboss | September 11, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I'm a lert, too! Us lerts gotta stick together.

Posted by: ihatewalks | September 11, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Orr will soon be batting .200 or below. Riggleman and Orr as Acta and Casto.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Martin's speed looks way down again ... wonder if he's pitched too many innings?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 7:44 PM |
----------------------------------------------------

I can't believe that some of you think the Nats should have called this guy up from AAA. He clearly can't pitch at this level. Look at the way he had to pitch around and walk Ramirez, forcing him to get Cantu to end the inning.

Or, maybe, some of you should SYFPH when it comes to Martin -- because many of you were so danged certain and so incredibly wrong about him.

Also -- there's no way in heck the Nats should be thinking of moving Desmond to 2b. He's the SS next year. Period. That's how the team should be looking at it. Moving him to 2B to keep Guzman at SS is the same kind of idiocy that had the Mets try to make a second baseman out of Jose Reyes -- when the big money free agent from Japan (Kaz Matsui) wanted to stay at SS. Everybody knew it was bass-ackwards, but they did it for a year. A train wreck of a year. I like Guzzy -- and he's made some highlight reel plays at SS -- but Desmond is the potential future Gold Glover and All-Star there, not Guzman. And, I don't see what's to be gained by keeping him down on the farm, when he could be playing regularly for the big club.

Posted by: fischy | September 11, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Orr now at .297 and dropping fast.

Again in AAA/AAAA the place everyone denigrates here as about as the "bush" leagues:

Orr .242
Desmond .354

Why is Orr playing again?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mike Morse AAAA comes through as a pinch hitter yet again.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

You know what? I admit I like it when Dibble reacts to big plays. I enjoyed hearing him growl "Yeah!" when Morse got that hit.

So sue me.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 11, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"I can't believe that some of you think the Nats should have called this guy up from AAA. He clearly can't pitch at this level. Look at the way he had to pitch around and walk Ramirez, forcing him to get Cantu to end the inning."

Maybe because he pitched toe-to-toe with Florida's ace? Maybe because he allowed 2 runs in 5 innings? Maybe because he has been pretty consistent as a starter ... more consistent than any pitcher on the staff bar none? Including Lannan?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

And maybe because Martin gave them a chance to win this game and because his AAA Syracuse team mate Mike Morse came through he just may.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

And maybe you can't tell sarcasm, even when it's clearly laid out for you in the next paragraph.

Posted by: fischy | September 11, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Mike Morse: now .333 exclusive as a pinch hitter. NOT given the "luxury" of regular at bats and starts like Pete TRU-AAAA Orr.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"And maybe you can't tell sarcasm, even when it's clearly laid out for you in the next paragraph.

Posted by: fischy | September 11, 2009"

My bad. Apologies sir!

Damn it Riggleman play GUYS who hit .350 in AAA Syracuse. Guys like Desmond and Morse. Why the F^ck are you playing Orr and Maxwell? They didn't earn it.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Shooting for 3 wins, 6 losses in September.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Clippard is good.

Posted by: nattaboy | September 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks but no thanks D.Y. We're movin on.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 11, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

6 alarm fire time.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Clippard is good. That's why Riggs brought in Bergmann.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 11, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Whew. (again).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 11, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo sez of Goozie: "If we can rationally show him that this is the best thing for the ballclub, I think he'll jump in with in."

And if Goozie doesn't, he can instead jump in a lake.

Goozie is the personification of mediocrity, a me-first stats-oriented guy who has never struck me willing to do anything beyond the minimum to collect a paycheck. I mean, bunions. Come on. Can you imagine telling that to Cal Ripken?

Get Hanley Ramirez, ship or switch Goozie, find out if Desmond is for real, and sail into 2010, with or without Goozie's approval of the plan. Good for Riggs to emphasize that point, too.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 11, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the give Zimm a chance to play SS? He played their in college.

Posted by: natsfanintexas | September 11, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't the give Zimm a chance to play SS? He played their in college.

Posted by: natsfanintexas | September 11, 2009"

Even Dunn played shortstop. So did 6'5" Mike Morse.

But no Zimmerman did not. He played third. His shortstop was AZ's 41 home run third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Hanley Ramirez. The only guy Riggleman will start over Pete Orr and Cristian Guzman.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Drew Storen from AAA/AAAA at this point needed more than Strasburg.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

who are the good free agent 2b/ss this year?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | September 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

That fish is up.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Watch Riggleman let Bonaficio beat the Nats. Beginning to really wonder about "going for the win" Riggleman.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Or is it Bonifacio?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Guz, nice DP.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 11, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Phewwww ... 2 wins in a row. 50 before 100?

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Estrada tomorrow.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Land Shark gets bitten by some gNats.

Posted by: periculum | September 11, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

If, and this is a ginormously big if, Desmond puts up Zimmerman's-September-2005-call-up-like numbers the rest of this month, then either move Guzman to 2B next season or trade him.

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

43 total posts and 23 are from periculum.
Time to rename this blog.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | September 12, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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