Washington Nationals: Cristian Guzman Going...Nowhere?

Stanley King, the agent for Washington Nationals' shortstop Cristian Guzman "declined to say" in a recent article by MLB.com's Bill Ladson entitled, "Guzman, King will take a wait-and-see approach", if he and his client would request a trade if Guzman did not start at short in DC this season, adding, as the article's title hints, that all they could do was, "...take a wait-and-see approach," as Spring Training played out. Which is pretty much exactly what the duo did late last season as well, when Washington started talking about possibly switching Guzman to second to accomodate the rise of Ian Desmond as the Nationals' next shortstop or the possible acquisition of a free agent infielder to take over for the soon-to-turn-32-year-old Guzman at short. But the primary focus of the Nats' offseason search (at least publically) ended up being second basemen, first Orlando Hudson, who signed in Minnesota and then Adam Kennedy, who signed with the Nats, leaving the left side of the infield open for the veteran Guzman, who's yet to fully recover from shoulder surgery, while the 24-year-old Desmond's currently leading the team with 11 RBI's in 11 games played, three doubles, one triple, a HR, 3 walks, 3 steals and a .400 AVG, a .455 OBP and .667 SLG... 

The stories out of Nationals' camp Tuesday had DC Skipper Jim Riggleman eager to see if Guzman was in fact healthy enough to go all out on the field. MLB.com's Bill Ladson quoted the Nats' Field Manager in a blog post entitled, "The Plan for the Nats' Cristian Guzman", explaining that with Guzman finally back in camp it was time to see if his shoulder was fully healed: 

"'[We have] to find out the next 10 days or so where his arm is at,' Riggleman said about Guzman. 'The other parts of his game -- swinging the bat, moving around, catching the ball -- we know what we have. But I'm not sure yet how his arm feels.'"

Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore noted in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nationals personnel department", that while Mr. Riggleman spoke for the Nationals in saying that the team is, "'confident that he'll be fine,'" the time has come for Guzman to show the team for sure one way or another, or as Mr. Riggleman was quoted stating:

"'I think the only way we're going to know how he's feeling is just game situations. He's got to let it go. We're going to see it when a play happens.'"

MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling wrote, in an article yesterday entitled, "Morning Notes", that the Nats' Skipper, "...wouldn't say he'd be comfortable putting Guzman on the field on Opening Day without seeing more from him," even if it means, "...creat(ing) an infield practice where we just were firing the ball over there," though, "...the game situation's going to tell us more." Guzman, according to Mr. Goessling, will get the start at short today, where the Nationals hope to find out if he's at full strength...

According to 1050 ESPN Radio in New York's Mets beat reporter Rich Coutinho, the Nationals aren't the only ones interested in seeing if Guzman is 100% recovered from offseason surgery. According to a Twitter message which showed up all over the Mets blogs yesterday, Mr. Coutinho's hearing that New York might actually be interested in Guzman as an insurance policy should shortstop Jose Reyes' continued medical issues cost him significant time off the field for the second-straight season:

"the Mets may be looking for another SS since Reyes could be out a few weeks- I am hearing the name Cristian Guzman has been discussed." 

Mr. Coutinho's the only one to mention this publically for over 10 hours now, without anyone refuting or supporting what he's heard, so take it for what it's worth, but really, are the Mets worried enough about Reyes that they'd actually consider taking Guzman and his $8M dollar deal off Washington's hands? Should the Nationals give up hope that someone's going to solve their infield situation for them and simply commit one way or another to a middle infield combo? Would Cristian Guzman accept a backup role? Is there any way in which you could justify starting Guzman over Ian Desmond right now? Who will be the Nats' Opening Day shorstop?

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