It turns out that being the token All-Star for the Nationals is the way to GM Jim Bowden‘s heart. Last year’s All-Star, DH Dmitri Young*, cashed in for $5 million a year, despite being a overweight diabetic. Young is now on the DL because his blood sugar is out of control. Hopefully he can get that straightened out because that is scary stuff. It kind of proves that spending $5 million on him was perhaps an uneccesary risk.
This year, Cristian Guzman, yes that much-maligned Cristian Guzman, was rewarded by Bowden with a 2 year, $16 million contract. Seriously. This two the player that was regarded as a major bust for several seasons at $4 million.
Now, I am no sabrmetician (or whatever a stats lover is called), but a quick look at his baseball-reference.com page last night produced these numbers.
It is just a coincidence that the most recent pull from baseballreference broke down so neatly. Guzman played 142 mostly awful games in 2005. Since then, he has played exactly 142 more games over parts of the last two seasons. A bum shoulder kept him out of all of the 2006 season. His bad shoulder is certainly part of the reason for being so awful in 2005, as was the fact that he was um, blind — he got laser vision correction before 2007. That being said, his numbers in the last 142 games are pretty good, but the guy still swings at the first pitch he sees after the previous batter walks on four pitches an awful lot. He is not much of a fielder either, so I got to wonder what Bowden is thinking? Is the market for shortstops really $8 million a year? I cannot help but think that this is an incredibly irresponsible decision. How can this work with THE PLAN of developing within and spending money on free agents when the team comes closer to contention? It just does not make any sense to me. How could Stan Kasten, architect of THE PLAN sign of on this one? Since nothing happens without his stamp of approval, I don’t think we will get our wish.
2005 27 WSN NL 142 456 39 100 19 6 4 31 7 4 25 76 .219 .260 .314
2007 29 WSN NL 46 174 31 57 6 6 2 14 2 0 15 21 .328 .380 .466
2008 30 WSN NL 96 416 56 129 26 3 5 34 3 3 16 36 .310 .339 .423
Nationals Deal Rauch, And Re-Sign Guzmán – The Post
Guzmán, the team’s lone all-star this season, had wanted a three- or four-year deal, he said, but was receptive to something shorter in large part because of sympathy. His first three years with the Nationals had been wasted by injuries and underperformance. Said Guzmán, “They had to pay for a player who was not on the field every day.”
Guzmán was “sensitive to what we went through with his last contract, the four years where he was hurting for the most of it,” Bowden said. “He gave back to the club by signing a two-year deal and he knows on the free agent market he gets the four years.”
Asked about the length of Guzmán’s contract, Bowden said: “We preferred two. We went through four years of injuries with Cristian. We didn’t want to have another contract and all of a sudden we have injuries again.”
Nothing like doubling someone’s salary to make them sympathetic. Methinks Bowden just got grifted. You have overpaid Cristian Guzman twice Jimbo!
Oh and on the Jon Rauch for Emilio Bonifacio trade, I am not too impressed yet, but I am willing to view it with an open mind. I think Distinguished Senators has addressed it the best:
We got some papally-named infielder I ain’t never heard of in return. Is this good? Well, here’s how I look at it: Jim Bowden seems committed to spending his time exploring, like a tracksuited Magellan whizzing around on a Segway, novel forms of bad behavior. Every minute he dedicated to exiling Giant Jon to the desert was a minute he wasn’t stealing money from Dominican teenagers, so whatever the outcome from a practical point of view, morally the trade’s a winner.
I will miss the big guy though, it was entertaining having the tallest player in the majors ever on the roster, even more so than having the only two Marlons at one time. In fact, much more so, Rauch was solid out of the bullpen.
Guzman agrees to two-year extension – nationals.com
Oh and the Nats lost in San Francisco last night.
*This is problematic as the Nats play in the NL where there is no DH.
Washington Nationals, Nats, Cristian Guzman, Jim Bowden