Time for the first edition of Free Agent Stock Watch. Today we’ll look at the rising stock of 30 year-old Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, who is eligible for free agency after the ’08 season.
Jim Bowden was heavily criticized for signing the switch-hitting Guzman to a four-year, $16.8MM deal in November of ’04. He was considered an all-glove, no-hit player. Guzman was awful for most of ’05, though poor eyesight was suggested as one explanation.
Guzman then missed all of ’06 with shoulder surgery. The following season was cut short by hamstring and thumb problems. But since ’07 he’s been a surprisingly respectable hitter in a half-season of ABs. He may be the slightly more affordable alternative to Rafael Furcal and Orlando Cabrera next winter. If Guzman stays healthy and somehow posts an .800 OPS (with 90+ runs scored) he could be in line for a three-year, $21MM deal.