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Nats ink Guardado to minor league deal

The Nats on Saturday made official their signing of relief pitcher Eddie Guardado to a minor league contract. Guardado will be given a chance to compete for a bullpen job in spring training.

The 39-year-old lefty, entering his 18th major league season, has 908 career appearances and a 4.32 ERA. Last season with Texas Guardado had a 1-2 record with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He also spent time on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 26, 2009; 7:42 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats sign Bruntlett, Whitesell to minor league deals

Comments

I guess we will enter a quiet time now for the hot stove, but I would rather the Nats keep the momentum going with a few more key signings. I don't see them connected to any more rumors at the moment, but they were busy working on Marquis, Capps, and Guardado.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | December 26, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

You never see them until it's too late...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 26, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

And while we're talking about how soon SS will be lighting up the radar at 1/2 and O Sts., there's this cautionary point from Seattle:
"Seattle's poor decisions stunted the development of Brandon Morrow, writes Ryan Divish of The News Tribune. While he never had the same ceiling as Tim Lincecum, who was drafted five spots later in the 2006 draft, things could have worked out differently for Morrow if he were given adequate time to develop in the minors."
http://tinyurl.com/yfevy48

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 26, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The big mistake Seattle made with Morrow was having too much talent on their staff ahead of the guy in the roation (Felix Hernandez, Bedard, Washburn) for him to stick on the MLB roster in that role and the club needing his skills too much as a releiver to send him down. The Nats should not have those kind of problems with Strasburg.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 26, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey BinM, thanks for straightening me out (again) on the 8-year-old pitcher's options. I guess I keep forgetting because it doesn't make sense: if I'm reading you right, the toddler was placed on the 40-man in 2006 even though there was no need for it -- didn't pitch in the majors, couldn't possibly have been eligible for the Rule 5 thing (right?).

Man, that's an odd, odd thing.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 26, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

And who was the GM when these strange things occured?

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I took your point on that matter the first time, BinM. For ny money, there's no shortage of blaming the man for all of society's ills, so I didn't really feel the need to add. You should, of course, do what you feel is necessary.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 27, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

And I'm not sure whether I said this in the previous, or just thought it forcefully: I'm very impressed with the list you were able to put together for us to consider. Being maybe a year off on one or two guys is one heck of a lot better than I could do. Thanks for that.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 27, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Scooter: You're more than welcome. Having a serious baseball jones of my own, I'm more than happy when I can dig out information that helps a fellow fan.

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"He hasn't proven he can hit or field with consistency in the MLB."

Not sure I agree Natsguy. Morse has proven that he can hit with consistency in the Bigs with Seattle. Well before he started tearing things up in Syracuse. His problem always appears to have been finding a position to field. Shortstop didn't suit him. Don't look now but Desmond could be another Morse. And one could even call the Nats first baseman in the same breed.

Whereas Espinosa may have the big bat and the smooth fielding glove. He didn't do badly in the AFL. We'll have to see how that all pans out.

Again as Rizzo and company put it: its not up to them when the player is ready ... its up to the player. Which is why I am betting on Storen. He is way ready methinks in his short learning curve, great attitude, composure, confidence ... I see him making his move now.

Posted by: periculum | December 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"He hasn't proven he can hit or field with consistency in the MLB."

Not sure I agree Natsguy. Morse has proven that he can hit with consistency in the Bigs with Seattle. Well before he started tearing things up in Syracuse. His problem always appears to have been finding a position to field. Shortstop didn't suit him. Don't look now but Desmond could be another Morse. And one could even call the Nats first baseman in the same breed.

Whereas Espinosa may have the big bat and the smooth fielding glove. He didn't do badly in the AFL. We'll have to see how that all pans out.

Again as Rizzo and company put it: its not up to them when the player is ready ... its up to the player. Which is why I am betting on Storen. He is way ready methinks in his short learning curve, great attitude, composure, confidence ... I see him making his move now.

Posted by: periculum | December 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

from your keyboard to Drew's ear...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to Desmond, taking a player with concentration issues and moving him all over the diamond was just another of Rigglemans disasterous player development decisions.

I'm not sure he is going to be our shortstop of the future but, I know if we keep doing that to him he will get worse fast.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 27, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Just a random observation - I find it interesting that in the last six months or so, the Nationals are becoming a team that players want to be a part of, rather than the team that no-one wanted anything to do with.

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@soundb: I hope he proves me wrong, but Desmond strikes me as a 'homeless mans' (reference borrowed from Bill Simmons @ ESPN.com) version of Robin Yount. He could become a good CF, and an adequate corner OF & make a nice career for himself. He just doesn't seem to have the mindset to be an everyday MI, imo.

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey--would love for you guys to come talk Nats with me at http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Got a depth chart and preview I'd like impressions on.

Posted by: CJArlington | December 27, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I drove through Viera this weekend and the Nats actually have billboards up on 95 promoting the team. I drive right past there at least 10 times a year and I have never before seen anything promoting the Nats or Spring training. Seeing some promotional efforts on top of signing legitimate major league ball-players, nice off-season. Might we actually be seeing the contruction of a major league franchise??

Posted by: chris88 | December 27, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

BunM

I actually agree that he may not make it. However, I thought Zimmerman errors were here to stay too. The thing about Desmond is that he falls into that 'worth a shot' cataory of prospect with Maxwell, Milledge (last year), and once upon a time Lannan. I would like to see a whole new middle infield but as that is unlikely the fact that Desmond is younger than Guzman, a poor shortstop market, and the presence of Dunn on the left side of the infield combine to mak. Desmond 'worth a shot'.

That said, I'd be shocked if he starts on opening day 2011.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 27, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@soundb: I never said Desmond wouldn't make it as a player. I just have my doubts about his glove in the IF; I hope he proves me wrong in Viera this year & turns into at least an average SS. That would be good for the pitching staff & the fans.

I'm just not holding my breath hoping it will happen.

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

@chris88: Well, the Nationals are finally putting a team on the field they shouldn't be embarrased with, and the Owners have been jolted out of their slumber by the new GM & his staff. It's about time, imo.

Posted by: BinM | December 27, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Right on, BinM. I am very optimistic for the coming season. It seems that things are improving rapidly in almost every area (save the middle infield) and the off season is not done yet. Happy New year!!!

Posted by: chris88 | December 27, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The key still is pitching. Which again, is why Storen has such a great opportunity to be the nexus or catharsis of turning this team from a perennial loser and also-ran to an up-and-comer. Can't expect that from Strasburg yet ... he needs some seasoning first. I think Storen's just may be sufficient.

Posted by: periculum | December 27, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry BinM

I was actually trying to agree. The nice thing about being two years away from even contending is that you can roll the dice, no matter how long the odds.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 27, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

When the Times stops covering sports, I hope MLB.com will pick up one of those guys and move Ladson somewhere else. I have nothing against the guy or his efforts (much maligned as they often are here), but he never seems to get over this being Washington's team, not Montreal's.

Posted by: nats24 | December 28, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Forget MLB.com - I hope the Post picks up at least one of them.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 28, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

any word on Hudson?

Posted by: alex35332 | December 28, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

There are two words on Hudson "diminishing defense".

Posted by: soundbloke | December 28, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Soundbloke,

The errors that Zimmerman made were almost all throwing errors. When he had a good first baseman they went away. What will happen this year is a good guess.

I would suspect if the Nats are actually pursuing Hudson we here would be the last to know about it. Rizzo plays his cards the way they should be, close to the vest.

Posted by: natsguy | December 28, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"...but he never seems to get over this being Washington's team, not Montreal's."

Posted by: nats24 | December 28, 2009 12:18 AM

*************
Really. This is the LEAST of Ladson's faults.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

periculum, i've never really understood your intense defense of mike morse.

i'm a little confused about how you define "hit with consistency."

he's an ok utility guy who can play a few positions. but he's only had more than 52 ABs once and he had a 719 OPS then (230 abs in 2005). last year he got 52 and had a 772 OPS. if you don't have defense in your corner, i don't know how you can turn that into anything more than a utility guy. and even then, if you don't have a position (and especially in the NL), you're a bit player.

i'm not necessarily trying to dis the guy, he's an ok player. and on a team like the 2010 nats, he can find a role. but i find it amusing to pretend he's anything more than a pinch hitter, 4th-5th OF or 3rd string infielder on a major league team. on a really good team, he wouldn't sniff a roster spot.

let's not get enamored with role players and pretend they're quality prospects who just didn't get a chance before. this is jim bowden thinking, let's move on from there.

Posted by: sec231 | December 28, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr.Rizzo; Thank you for all your hard work so far,it appears we as a fan base and a franchise are going in the right direction just one favor, please,please, let us not turn out like the football franchise that occupies the headlines and the fanbase of this great city i think Mr.Rizzo you have an oppourtunity to make the Nationals a great baseball franchise and change the fortunes of the past washington baseball clubs, hopefully you will continue to do things the right way, i know i speak for all the fan's when i say we are excited about the future of this franchise and can't wait for spring training and the season to start, and as the late great Jackie Robinson used to say "Let's Go!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | December 28, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Best reported offer to Matt Holliday right nwo is something like 5 years $82.5M, with no trade protection. The Nats were ready to throw TWICE that money at Tex last year, why are they not in on Holliday now? Ensuring a potential to compete in 2011 and beyond by inking an RBI machine in his prime to go along with Zim would be a step in the right direction. And not some baby step to escape laughing stock status either.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 28, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

actually, if you're going on what MLBTR.com said, the lack of no-trade was in the rockies offer two years ago. it does not say that the cardinals' current 5/80 offer doesn't have a no trade in it. just wanted to clarify that.

Posted by: sec231 | December 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It's only 53 days till pitchers & catchers report. Tempus fugit!

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | December 28, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

dfh21,

I agree, they should at least make a strong offer. If they don't land Holliday then, no biggie, in my opinion. I'm more interested in them landing 2 more impact pitchers. Garland, Sheets, another BP arm, etc.

However, if they made a solid offer and actually landed Holliday then, they could trade Willingham for a nice arm and/or a defensive MI'er.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, the huge difference between Holliday and Teixiera is that Tex is a two-way player, well above average on both offense and defense.

Holliday is certainly an above-average offensive player (with a pretty incredible stretch run once he got traded to St. Louis this past season), but he's already a detriment in the outfield, and those skills will continue to erode.

Call me crazy, but I think we have a player like that already (just signed him as a free agent last offseason, in fact).

Half the skills, half the paycheck. With that rationale, if we can get him for 5/$90, then great. Otherwise, let's bypass him for more pitching options.

Posted by: faNATic | December 28, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the Nationals focus on pitching and developing young pitchers, but I am hopeful they will soon turn some of their attention to position players. There are only 15 position players on the entire 40 man roster including Wil Nieves and Mike Morse. The roster has no proven second baseman, old and injurred catchers, weak baserunning (excepting Morgan), and defensively challenged infielders and outfielders (excepting Zimmerman, Morgan, and a few of the backup outfielders). I know there has been long standing expression of intent to strengthen the middle infield, so perhaps we will hear something soon. But while I like all the individual players at each position, the only standout statistically are Zimmerman and Dunn.

So I hope the Nats had a nice Christmas, but you should have been back to work all the earlier the next day. Let's get cracking ....

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 28, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Half the skills? Tex plays 1B, not SS, CF or C, and if you buy the whole UZR thing, he was middle of the pack last year with the glove. Even if he was guaranteed to be stellar every year at 1B would it be worth another $80 Million? No. Buy important defensive guys at defensive guy prices. Sluggers get paid to hit, the glove is icing. And Holliday is not a liability in the field, he's capable.

Dunn is a guy we have for 9 more months. He's likely going to play well enough at 1B to attract a following of suitors for 2011 and he's gone (might be by trade in July). The only way the Nats keep that guy is if they extend him preseason. The Nats have Zim and no other weapons on O beyond this year, they need Holliday as much as any team in MLB.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 28, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has said several times that signing Dunn long term is a priority. Where it ranks among other priorities (MI & SP depth) remains to be seen. Dunn has also said he is open to staying in DC. Both sides may just be "saying the right things" publicly, but I choose to take them at their words. The season is a long way off and we haven't yet heard about Rizzo missing on a player he targets, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Rizzo says he wants Dunn and Dunn says he is willing to return to the Nats then I think it will get done. Maybe 2 more years for 26-28?

Posted by: SpashCity | December 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the Nationals have agreed to minor-league contracts with 2B Eric Bruntlett & 1B Josh Whitesell.

Posted by: BinM | December 28, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Splash-- in Rizzo you trust? Maybe that is fair. I should give the guy the benefit of the doubt. But the benefit should not extend to the Lerners, who have done very little to stock MLB talent on the club in the now several years they have had control.

My concern is that Dunn will play well enough to be traded in June for some prospects and we'll just add another year or two to the oh-so-slow march toward the mountain top of respectability.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Dfh - if you're going to repose your argument, I'm going to repost mine - the difference between holliday and Tex is that holliday is a creature of coors field - take away his coors production and he's identical to willingham. And there's no way we should pay 5/80 for Willingham-level production.

Peri - I don't get the morse-love. He's a fine super-utility guy, but if he's getting more than 100 abs or so, your team is hurting. I agree Desmond may be headed that way, but that's a sign of Desmond not being the answer, I think.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

dfh -

The question is will Dunn bring high-ceiling, near-MLB ready, blue-chip type guys? Any potential 40-homer/.400 OBP per season guys? If those types of players can be had for Dunn then we should by all means trade him. But to trade him for anything just because we don't want to pay him is a step in the wrong direction in my opinion. Trading Dunn for anything but a potential front of the rotation starter and a starting middle infielder or middle of the order bat will put the Nats further from the peak rather than closer to it. I'm sure Rizzo is trying to feel out the market for Dunn, who by all accounts had a career year last season while learning a new position. If the Nats sign him to a 2-year extension and if he can become an average defensive 1B he will still have trade value at the end of that contract (only 32 years old). I think Dunn's presence had a direct correlation on Zimmerman's break out year, and I think we need his bat in the line-up more than the prospects he could potentially bring in a trade.

Posted by: SpashCity | December 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Reposing what argument? That we need better players?

Anyway, I guess that Tex was not a creature of hitter friendly Texas at all? Only Holliday has home park numbers to be devalued? Having been no place near Coors Filed last year he hit for a 0.914 OPS and batted .313 with 100+ RBI. However, he stole 28 bases in 2008 and only 14 in 2009, maybe Coors makes him run faster too?

Come on. Holliday is a superior player to Willingham in every aspect of the game, not to mention that the Hammer is walking wounded. I guess having to work that much harder to make up for pitcher fiendly Florida has Josh's back in a knot -- hope that does not happen to Hanley Ramirez too.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Holiday may be worth $80+/5 for some teams, but not this one. Right now they need pitching and defense more than they need another good bat. This lineup should score runs most nights, but if they continue to give them right back in the field, they will still be crap. If they can pitch and catch and throw, they will get better.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 28, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

And if Dunn had any trade value, then Holliday would have already signed. No one needs a DH that badly right now. The Yankees are making do with Nick Johnson, fer crying out loud, who are you going to trade Dunn TO?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

bit of a stretch to say dunn had a career year by any account, let alone all accounts. it was a remarkably consistent, exactly-in-line-with-what-he's-done-ever-year-since-2004 year.

(HR/RBI/OBP/OPS)
2004: 46/102/388/957
2005: 40/101/387/927
2006: 40/ 92/365/855
2007: 40/106/386/940
2008: 40/100/386/899
2009: 38/105/398/927

that's about as consistent an offensive line as a baseball player can have over a six year period.

Posted by: sec231 | December 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

dunn has no trade value now.

he may, however, have trade value in june/july. but high-priced veterans on expiring contracts are worth far less now (and the last two years) than they have been in decades. the day where you could get a big haul for that kind of player at the trade deadline is gone for now.

on a side note, hopefully all of those who complained that the nats didn't compete and/or win in the bidding for alfonso soriano can see what that kind of approach can do to a team. he's hamstrung the cubs, not unlike what vernon wells has done to toronto or zito has done to SF. you have to be especially careful with the monster contracts to avoid hanging the albatross around your neck. especially if that player isn't going to put you over the top right now.

Posted by: sec231 | December 28, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

mariners sign ex nats...

The Mariners signed catcher Josh Bard and reliever Chad Cordero to minor league deals, according to a team press release.

Posted by: sec231 | December 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Nats sign Bruntlett and Whitesell according to the "other" paper.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/chatter/2009/dec/28/nats-sign-bruntlett-whitesell/

Posted by: FloresFan | December 28, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

There's also a Bruntlett/Whitesell item on the MASN site.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Bruntlett has a decent chance to unseat Morse for a bench spot. He's played every position except for catcher and is a nice guy to have around as a vet...Gives the Nats options if somebody is willing to trade for Guzman or Harris as well (though unlikely)
http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Posted by: CJArlington | December 28, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Interesting nugget from www.dcrtv.com:

Nats & WFED Launch Riggleman Show - 12/28 - The Washington Nationals and Bonneville announce the addition of a new segment to their sixth season of the "Nationals On Deck" pregame radio broadcast - "The Manager's Show" featuring Jim Riggleman. In his first full season as the Nationals manager, Riggleman will join Nationals play-by-play hosts Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler for a five-minute conversation during each pregame radio show airing on WFED, Federal News Radio, 1500/820 AM. WFED also features "Nationals Insider" and "Nats Talk Live".....

Posted by: TimDz | December 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"Gives the Nats options if somebody is willing to trade for Guzman"

Guzman is a 10 and 5 guy now. He can't be traded without his consent.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 28, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If you guys wanna have a bit of fun on account of Phillie fans check out the comments section of this article (I'm personally responsible for adding wood to the fire, but it is fun):

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/12/nationals-reach-agreements-with-eric-bruntlett-josh-whitesell.html#comments

Posted by: big_game_lannan | December 28, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

My gut tells me that today's signings are nothing more than insurance policies to be held at SYR. Bruntlett can fill in short-term at 2B-SS-3B, but hasn't ever hit in parts of seven ML seasons; Whitesell is a smooth-fielding 1B who can hit at AAA & could push Marrero to get some of the 'clank' out of his glove.

Posted by: BinM | December 28, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Guys who have been in professional baseball for 7-8 years and hit well under .200 at the MLB level are not pushing anyone to do much of anything. These guys are filling minor league rosters, nothing else.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 28, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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