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Nats nearing deal with veteran reliever Guardado

Continuing an active offseason, the Washington Nationals are close to a contract agreement with free agent reliever Eddie Guardado, according to two sources. The terms remain unknown, but it's almost certain that the 39-year-old lefty will get a one-year deal.

Though Guardado pondered retirement after the season, he had been talking with the Nationals for at least several weeks. With the Rangers in 2009, Guardado went 1-2 (38-1/3 innings) with a 4.46 ERA. In mid-August, he was placed on the disabled list with left knee inflammation, but he has since been following a rehab program to rebuild strength.

Since entering the majors in 1993, Guardado has pitched almost entirely in the American League, aside from a two-season stint with the Reds. He has 187 career saves, and in 2002 he led the American League with 45.

His most notable connection with the Nationals, prior to this offseason, was a joke. At the trade deadline in 2008, Guardado, then with the Rangers, was summoned from the steam room and told by his manager that he'd been dealt to Washington. According to various news accounts, Guardado was incensed -- until he realized it was a prank.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 22, 2009; 9:48 PM ET
 
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Next: Riggleman, Capps, Guardado, Marquis

Comments

reposting from previous thread...

seriously people. enough of this "mentoring crap. pudge to mentor flores. marquis to mentor young starters. guardado - the working man's ron villone - to mentor the bullpen. two of these guys were born when I was in high school nearly 40 years ago. basically rodriguez and guardado are old guys looking to hang on and make some more money. nationals park? more like jurassic park in those cases.

Posted by: surly_w | December 22, 2009 10:22 PM

Posted by: surly_w | December 22, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, I wanted a veteran reliver but one named Smoltz not Everyday Eddie!

Posted by: markfd | December 22, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

If its a major league contract, someone has to be dropped from the 40 man roster. Curious?

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 22, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Surly but thats the company line and its on the lips of every member of the Nats Brain Trust! It all about mentoring when your consistenly dropping C notes every year.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 22, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

TippyCanoe

this situation also speaks of the neglect of the farm system during the reign of error of lord jim. the nats need to patch holes with guys like rodriguez and guardado because of a dearth of near major-league ready home-grown talent to fill needs. the orioles did such for years and look where it got them.

Posted by: surly_w | December 22, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Not too crazy about this. Is he Ray King's twin?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 22, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

2 words:
Randy
Johnson.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 22, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

@markfd, don't give up the ship, you may yet get that. Not if I get Johnson, but that's ok.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 22, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

This is funny, but it's good, too. This guy is one more old pro who will NOT stand for the BS we've been watching. I like this.
******************
"His most notable connection with the Nationals, prior to this offseason, was a joke. At the trade deadline in 2008, Guardado, then with the Rangers, was summoned from the steam room and told by his manager that he'd been dealt to Washington. According to various news accounts, Guardado was incensed -- until he realized it was a prank."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 22, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Last year, many of us complained of the culture of losing taking root. These Old Guys are old, but they aren't used to losing, and they won't have it. That's a good next step.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 23, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Sec3, I really hate to prick someone's bubble when he's obviously riding high on this most excellent news ... but I don't think Guardado is *quite* as good as Randy Johnson.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 23, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I think we need to check back on the original request from time to time:

Santa baby, just slip a pitcher under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Check.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 23, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

The third verse, or the first bridge, or whatever you want to call it, it's a bit of a stretch to say Guardado still satisfies it at his age, and Capps is still pretending he doesn't like us, even though we know that's just him trying to make us all jealous but i was talking to stacey and she said ...

Oops, sorry. Wrong blog. Anyway, I realized we've already got Bruney. So ...

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the batters that we haven’t whiffed
Next year I could be oh so good
If you'd check off my Christmas list

Check.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 23, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I really need to stop this string of brief, kind-of-related, barely coherent posts. People already confuse me with Sec3 enough as it is.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 23, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I like Eddie. Check him out:
http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6269377&c_id=mlb

Posted by: big_game_lannan | December 23, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

May your days be merry and bright, everybody!

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 23, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

washingtonpost.com's beat writer/blog reporter writes:"first reported by Foxsports.com"

Link, please.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Nats-near-deal-with-Guardado-122209-LIVE

JOURNALISM.

Posted by: tailwagger | December 23, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhh. THAT's Eddie Guardado. I had no idea who he was.

I now recognize him from my blooper video in the bloopers-gone-good-section. He was so cute, telling the story about playing in the MN dome. A hitter popped the ball up and they thought it was foul But Eddie saw it hit the speaker, realized the speakers were fair, and ran and made the diving catch.

He said later his wife told him he went after that ball like it was a burrito.

I like him already. =)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 23, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey, thanks, Scooter. I was thinking of posting it the other day, but didn't get around to it.

Also, hi, Flynnie, and the same to you!

---

May your days be merry and bright, everybody!

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 23, 2009 2:05 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm imagining a scenario something like this.

Agent: So I got you a gig.

Guardado: Awesome - show me the money!

Agent: It's with the Nats.

Guardado: Haha. No, really, who's it with?

Agent: I told you, the Nats.

Guardado: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. You're kidding, right? Right?

Agent: ...crickets...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Arguing with myself: On the one hand Guardado is 39 years old; on the other hand he is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery and his arm may just now be returning to the form that made him the everday reliable he was for nearly a decadce. Bck on the other hand, he gave up a few home runs and too many walks last year; but he still managed a 2.51 ERA when pitching away from the Rangers home park.

Interestingly, he had a much better BA against righthnanders .228 than lefthanders .333 so he was not pitching like the loogy most people seem to assume that he is. His performance says he's a 7th/8th setup man, not a situational lefty.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 23, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Scooter, there's also this (maybe I should have specified a position player):

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With a Silver Slugger bought at Tiffany's
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Brief follow up on "closers."

The save/save opportunity ratio is about 2/3, but that's overall. I was referring to closers, who have a success rate more like 87 percent. That's not surprising given the nature of the task.
-------
sec3mysofa: The major league average for blown saves is about 1 in 3 chances--that's your "most of the time." If just anybody could do that, no one would get paid extra for it.

Posted by: KenNat | December 23, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I know I've been on the mentoring band wagon and for the most part ya just gotta believe its the right thing to do. However I heard Rizzo talking about MI help and he was describing (at least in my mind), O-Dog! Rizzo buzz words; athletic, strong work ethic, speedy, 2 hole type of hitter.

So what does this say? Jr Spivey, PLoDuca, PWilson, OD Perez redux!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 23, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Eddie G had to scratch for a minor league deal last year and facing mostly lefties he got hit pretty hard in 2009. He may have something left in the tank and maybe he'll be more effectve after he's done some off season healing, but this is not exactly on its face a big add to the club.

And I am with Surly W at the top, the mentoring crap is just too much. Every guy who has played more than 10 years is by definition a mentor it seems. And I am sure Eddie's a good clubhouse guy too, that he brings intangibles, that he brings an amazing work ethic, and tha he comes from a winning tradition, blah blah blah. Even if that stuff does have real value, the lack of it has not been holding the Nats back much as they have never wanted for decent guys or guys who have played for a winning club or two or for journeymen players to be the Obi Wans to our supposed Skywalkers.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 23, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

After what we all saw from the bullpen last year, almost anybody would be an improvement. I suggest we wait and see what kind of contract and how the results of spring training turn out before we all get over judgmental on the easy Eddie move, should it come. I like the moves Rizzo has made, but hey, not every move is always going to work out. Still, all in all, in Rizzo I trust.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 23, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

On another note, I was watching MLB Network last night and they were recapping a Prime Nine series on top players of the decade. The Nats currently have two players in the rankings: Pudge (ranked #1 for catchers) and Z-Man (ranked #9 for third basemen. D. Wright was #4 - perhaps that one's a tad bit high, eh?).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree with surly_w and dfh21 on this mentoring issue. A lot of posters seem to have a romanticized idea of older players willingly helping younger players take their jobs, hence their livelihoods. How many of us would feel so kindly if our bosses came to us and said "I want you to teach this guy everything you know. Show him the ropes and by the way, in two years he's going to have your job and you'll be gone. Sorry, it's business, not personal." I doubt many of us would feel so warm and fuzzy if something happened like that.

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 23, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

If Guardado is getting a non-guaranteed minor-league deal, it's a good signing, imo. He'd be a good fallback option if Slaten has a bad spring.

Posted by: BinM | December 23, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I think mentoring is different when it comes to sports, afterall, age is much more of a factor there than it is in most other businesses. Athletes know that mentoring is a way of extending a career on the back end. Not so much for a car salesman.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

1a, were you referring to the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers that Marquis won?

If so, yea, maybe you should have specified position player. =)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 23, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I'll go with the questioning mentoring pack about this. Personally, I'd much rather have an Elrod Hendricks type in the bullpen doing the mentoring than have an over-the-hill pitcher doing it. As those who have paid attention, on this board, know, I'm always dubious about the ability of pitchers to do anything that might have to strain what is between their ears. OTOH, they tend not to listen to catchers on the field, so not listening to them in the pen is well within their comfort zone.

That rant out of the way, I think that it is a good signing. Assuming that Guardado has anything left in the tank, he is probably a very good choice to bring in in the 7th (or even 6th) to get to the back end of the bullpen. He will understand his role and not chafe at his place in the pecking order.

BTW, while snowed in, I was watching some of the MLB/TV broadcasts of old games. I found myself wanting to scream at the TV as to why the manager didn't bring in his bullpen sooner, but guess what...the starter usually righted himself and did fine for 120-150 pitches. Maybe someone should reconsider philosophy. I'm guessing that Riggles will have a fairly quick hook with Marquis as a way to preserve him for late August and September. I wonder if that is the best philosophy.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 23, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Mentor is this year's Rizzo term that people don't seem to like. Last year it was inventory. Count your blessings, people. With the previous GM, the words that got people in an uproar were buttocks, fart, etc. This is progress.

Posted by: section309 | December 23, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

309, LOL!

Posted by: NatsNut | December 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"BTW, while snowed in, I was watching some of the MLB/TV broadcasts of old games. I found myself wanting to scream at the TV as to why the manager didn't bring in his bullpen sooner, but guess what...the starter usually righted himself and did fine for 120-150 pitches."

Well, except for that all-time game they showed Saturday night. Yankees-Red Sox in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. People are still screaming at Grady Little for not bringing in his bullpen sooner. And those people were and are right on that one!

BTW, at least three then-future, now-former Nats played roles in that game. Nick Johnson played the whole game at first (with an uncharacteristic .000 OBP), Damian Jackson pinch ran for the Red Sox, and then there was that Aaron Boone guy. What's his middle name again?

Posted by: section309 | December 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Yep, that was it. Although, Pudge did win some, too, back in the day.

---

1a, were you referring to the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers that Marquis won?

If so, yea, maybe you should have specified position player. =)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 23, 2009 10:16 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's fun to see those old games on MLB Network. One thing I'll bet you weren't screaming at the TV with the older games is "speed it up, boys." ;-)

---

BTW, while snowed in, I was watching some of the MLB/TV broadcasts of old games. I found myself wanting to scream at the TV as to why the manager didn't bring in his bullpen sooner, but guess what...the starter usually righted himself and did fine for 120-150 pitches. Maybe someone should reconsider philosophy. I'm guessing that Riggles will have a fairly quick hook with Marquis as a way to preserve him for late August and September. I wonder if that is the best philosophy.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 23, 2009 10:17 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Does this mean Rizzo is getting Guardado in addition to Capps, or he knows Capps is going somewhere else (not that they are interchangeable)....

Posted by: 1of9000 | December 23, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of those guys, new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 23, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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