After the Nationals named Ian Desmond their starting shortstop at the beginning of this week, Cristian Guzman's role with Washington became a little less clear. Guzman will make more money ($8MM) in 2010 than any National not named Adam Dunn, and is without a starting job. If Desmond holds his own as an everyday starter, the club will be paying $8MM to a utility player.
It's not an ideal situation for the Nationals, but it would be a challenge to move Guzman. In addition to his price tag, the 32-year-old also possesses ten and five rights, meaning he would have to approve any trade the team worked out.
Guzman has said he won't request a trade, and GM Mike Rizzo has insisted that Washington is not attempting to deal him. However, the switch-hitter could provide some value to a contending team as a utility man. In 1359 plate appearances for the Nats since 2007, he has hit .305/.334/.423, and while Fangraphs rates his shortstop defense as consistently slightly below average during his time in Washington, his positional flexibility could come in handy. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes today that the Nationals are trying Guzman in right field in hopes of getting him a few more at-bats.
We've already seen questions this spring regarding the health of star infielders such as Jose Reyes and Brian Roberts, and the Rangers reportedly looked into acquiring Guzman during their search for infield help. It's not hard to imagine depth or injury concerns inspiring a team to make a move for Guzman this season, despite his hefty contract. Do you see it happening? Which club could you imagine pulling off a trade? And what might the cost be, in terms of both money and talent?