During the recent Blogger's Day interview with DC GM Mike Rizzo and team President Stan Kasten, Steven from FJB asked Mr. Rizzo directly whether or not the Nationals were considering moving Cristian Guzman to second since there had been a notable decrease in the 31-year-old shortstop's range (most clearly his ability to get balls hit to his left) over the last few seasons, and the then-newly-named GM's response at the time was that the team was aware of and monitoring the situation at short, but had not yet reached any conclusions or made any decisions concerning the 2010 Nationals' infield, or in Mr. Rizzo's own words:
Mike Rizzo: "We haven't approached Cristian with any of that, or have we made a decision on that, Cristian, offensively obviously is one of the better middle infielders in the game. Defensively, pretty sure-handed shortstop, although his range at this point is not quite where you want it to be, I haven't approached him about moving to second base, it's a possibility, but the probability is to get one of those two positions in a different way, via free agency, trade, or that type of thing, but we're very cognizant of speed and defense up the middle is vital to a pitching orientated ballclub, which I think we're going to be not only this year and next year..."
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's blog post today entitled, "Nats ask Guzman to play 2B in 2010", the Nationals have made a decision, or at least started working toward a resolution. Mr. Ladson is reporting that Mr. Rizzo and "Interim" Manager Jim Riggleman, "...had a private meeting with shortstop Cristian Guzman on Thursday afternoon and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season..."
Wait, Rizzo and Riggleman asked about 2010? Whatever...For now, Guzman's response:
Uh-oh...(continued after the JUMP)...
In fact, no one is talking about the meeting, as Mr. Ladson notes, writing that:
"In the past, Riggleman believed that a foot injury has hampered Guzman's ability to go to his left, but no one knows how Riggleman feels now because he was not available for comment.
"Both Rizzo and Guzman declined to talk about the possible move to second."
"Guzman was in shock and told them he had never played second base in his life," according to Mr. Ladson's report. In an article at FanGraphs.com, Dave Cameron writes that, "...UZR doesn't exactly agree," with the Nationals' assessment of Guzman's range, but the Nationals have apparently decided they would like to go in a different direction at shortstop next season. It's worth noting that Mr.'s Rizzo and Riggleman met with Guzman "Thursday afternoon" according to Mr. Ladson, so the decision likely has little to do with Ian Desmond's impressive debut. Can the Nationals settle for a rookie shortstop next season, or if Guzman agrees to a move do they have to bring in a free agent? Have you looked at the list of free agent shortstops for next season?
• Guzman's 2009 Stats At Baseball-Reference.com
• Current UZR Ratings for NL Shorstops at FanGraphs.com
"If you're curious, here's the list of potential free agents during the upcoming offseason. The shortstop list includes Orlando Cabrera, Bobby Crosby, Adam Everett, Alex Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, John McDonald, Marco Scutaro, Miguel Tejada and Jack Wilson."