Cristian Guzman Rumors

Minor Moves: Marrero, Thurston, Guzman

Keeping track of the day’s minor moves…

  • The White Sox sent outfielder Christian Marrero to the Braves for cash considerations, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). It appears that he'll start the 2012 season in the minor leagues.
  • The Phillies signed Joe Thurston, according to Todd Zolecki of (on Twitter). He'll open the season in the minors. The Astros released the utility player earlier today, according to the team’s senior director of social media, Alyson Footer (Twitter link). The 32-year-old has MLB experience at second and third and in both corner outfield positions. He owns a .226/.305/.323 line in parts of seven MLB seasons.
  • The Dodgers signed right-hander Kyle Smit, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweets. Smit had spent the past few seasons in the Cubs’ organization.
  • Cristian Guzman says the Indians released him, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). The veteran infielder signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland last month, though he didn't play affiliated baseball in 2011.

Indians To Sign Cristian Guzman

The Indians will sign infielder Cristian Guzman to a minor league contract with a spring training invite, tweets's Jordan Bastian.  He took his physical today and the deal will likely become official tomorrow.

Guzman, 33, last played in the Majors in 2010 with the Nationals and Rangers.  He sat out the 2011 season due to a shoulder injury, he told Bastian.  Guzman is a career .271/.307/.383 hitter who has appeared at both middle infield positions.

Cristian Guzman To Miss At Least Half Of 2011 Season

Cristian Guzman will sit out at least the first half of the upcoming season, his agent Stanley King tells's Bill Ladson.  King says his client is dealing with unspecified "family issues," and while he hopes Guzman can settle things over the next few months, it's possible Guzman could not play at all in 2011.  The free agent infielder would still attempt to return in 2012, however.

Guzman drew some interest from Colorado earlier this winter, but overall there hasn't been much buzz about the veteran, who will turn 33 later this month.  King says Guzman recently received offers from two NL teams but Guzman had already decided to sit out the first half.

A two-time former All-Star, Guzman had played for Washington since 2005 before being sent to Texas at the trade deadline. He had a combined line of .266/.311/.337 with the Nats and Rangers last season and didn't make any postseason appearances for Texas.  Guzman has spent most of his 11-year career at shortstop, but has posted below-average UZR/150 ratings at the position since 2004.  He spent most of his time at second base last season, and even played eight games in right field.

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Rockies Looking To Add Pieces

The Rockies are considering available free agents as they look to add rotation depth, left-handed relief and infield help, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Rockies would like to add a veteran starter and David Bush and Rodrigo Lopez are among the team’s targets.

The team would also like to sign a left-handed reliever to a minor league deal. Matt Reynolds (21 career appearances) and Franklin Morales (88 career appearances) are the team's current options, so they’re eyeing veteran help. Former Rockie Joe Beimel does not appear to be an option, according to the Denver Post.

Alfredo Amezaga, Cristian Guzman and Aaron Miles are among the backup infielders the club is considering. The Rockies appear to prefer Amezaga to Miles, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies still have interest in a higher profile infielder: Michael Young. Young will earn $16MM in each of the next three seasons and the Rangers say they expect him to stay in Texas. 

Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine told  Mike Ferrin and Morgan Ensberg on MLB Network Radio that  “we’re looking at [Young] as our primary DH but also a guy who’s going to play all over the infield.” The team expects Young to get plenty of playing time, even though they just acquired former division rival Mike Napoli.

The Rockies also signed veteran catcher Chad Moeller to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

Daniels On Hamilton, Vlad, Lee, Scheppers

Rangers GM Jon Daniels chatted with ESPN readers yesterday afternoon.  A few nuggets:

  • Daniels explained that Josh Hamilton will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season, and "a lot can happen between now and then that could keep him in Texas beyond that point."  Hamilton reportedly turned down a four-year, $24MM offer in 2009.  Rangers president Nolan Ryan recently testified that Hamilton's salary could jump to $8-10MM in 2010 if he wins the MVP award. 
  • Daniels has let the agents for Vladimir Guerrero and Cliff Lee know he'd like to re-sign their clients, but he feels it's best to talk specifics in the offseason.
  • It's "certainly possible" Tanner Scheppers will make his MLB debut this year, and Daniels says the Rangers "don't really make decisions based on service time."  The 23-year-old righty sports a 3.76 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 in 52.6 Triple A innings this year.
  • The Rangers were discussing Cristian Guzman with the Nationals prior to Ian Kinsler's injury; Daniels viewed Guzman as a luxury at that point.
  • The expectation is that the Rangers will be able to announce the player to be named received from the Red Sox in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal shortly.
  • Daniels has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave if the Rangers are sold to a group other than the one fronted by Chuck Greenberg, but he said yesterday that "leaving the Rangers is not remotely on my mind" and "I love it here."

Odds & Ends: Ankiel, Ohman, Tigers, Mets, Rangers

Links for Sunday, as a handful of players suit up for new teams….

Rangers Acquire Cristian Guzman

4:23pm: The Nationals also acquire Tanner Roark, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

3:58pm: The Nats are sending just over $2MM to the Rangers, according to's Buster Olney (on Twitter).

3:23pm: The Nationals will acquire pitcher Ryan Tatusko in the deal, according to's T.R. Sullivan (on Twitter).

2:49pm: The Nationals obtain two good pitching prospects who aren't yet major league ready,'s Bill Ladson told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link).

2:13pm: The Rangers acquired infielder Cristian Guzman from the Nationals for prospects, reports's Bill Ladson.  The Rangers were linked to Guzman yesterday when Ian Kinsler hit the DL.  Guzman, owner of 10-and-5 rights, agreed to the trade though it saddened him according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Guzman, 32, is hitting .282/.327/.361 in 346 plate appearances on the season while playing second base, shortstop, and right field.  He has $2.87MM remaining on his contract, but it was expected that the Nationals would have to pick up most or all of the tab to move him.

Rangers, Phillies Have Some Interest In Guzman

The Rangers and Phillies have some interest in Nationals infielder Cristian Guzman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Guzman is able to play multiple positions, and he's hitting .287/.331/.366 on the season.

The problem with Guzman is that he has a cool $3MM left on his contract.  And regarding the Phillies, ESPN's Jayson Stark says Miguel Tejada is their primary infield target.  Tejada has $2.25MM in base salary remaining, with another $250K in bonuses coming if he's traded and reaches 630 plate appearances.

What The Elias Rankings Mean For Trade Candidates

Many of this year's trade candidates share a distinguishing characteristic: they are about to become free agents. After the season, their teams will decide whether to offer arbitration and have a chance at top picks in next year's draft. A player's ranking can contribute to or detract from his trade value, so let's take a look at some of this year's trade candidates and see where they place under our reverse-engineered Elias rankings

We'll start with some trade candidates who project as Type A free agents. If these players decline arbitration offers to sign elsewhere, their former teams will receive two top picks in the 2011 draft. These players are sometimes more inclined to accept arbitration, since their Type A status can intimidate would-be suitors who don't want to surrender a pick (just ask Juan Cruz and Orlando Hudson).

It's important to note that teams don't necessarily give first rounders up to sign the players below. The first 15 picks are protected and sometimes teams sign more than one Type A player. Say the Red Sox sign Adam Dunn (75.8 ranking) and Scott Downs (74.6 ranking) and both were offered arb. The Nationals would get Boston's top pick and the Blue Jays would get their second-best pick because Dunn ranks higher than Downs. In that instance, Downs only costs the Red Sox a second rounder.

Once a team signs one Type A free agent, the cost of signing a second and a third drops, since the club is giving up lesser picks. Rafael Soriano (88.9), Vladimir Guerrero (88.6), Carl Crawford (85.5), Javier Vazquez (79.0) and Adrian Beltre (78.9) could all get arbitration offers this winter, so Type As, especially lower-ranked players, don't always cost a first rounder. With that in mind, here are some trade candidates who currently have Type A status:

  • Cliff Lee (91.8) – He is getting an arbitration offer and turning it down. Lee's Type A status boosts his trade value.
  • Jayson Werth (86.0) – Same goes for Werth.
  • David DeJesus (78.3)- Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs argued yesterday that the Royals shouldn't offer arbitration, since DeJesus would accept. It's entirely possible that the Royals can get more value for DeJesus in a trade, but I don't think DeJesus would necessarily accept arbitration. He will easily be a top-five outfielder if his team lets him hit free agency instead of picking up his $6MM option. And if he accepts? The team has an above-average outfielder on an affordable one-year deal.
  • Adam Dunn (75.8) – He will get an arbitration offer and will probably turn it down. Dunn's Type A status boosts his trade value.
  • Scott Downs (74.6) – Earlier this week, I suggested the Blue Jays could offer Downs arbitration and either collect the picks or pay him $5MM or so in 2011. There's a good chance that Downs accepts an offer of arbitration, but the chance at two top picks probably makes that a risk worth taking. 
  • Miguel Tejada (74.4) – It's hard to imagine teams forfeiting picks to sign Tejada. It seems unlikely that a team would offer arbitration. Tejada's Type A status doesn't affect his trade value (and he is only a couple points away from becoming a Type B).
  • Ted Lilly (74.3) – Lilly will be a top free agent starter after the season, so the Cubs will likely offer arbitration. Lilly's Type A status boosts his trade value.

And here are some players who currently project as Type B free agents. These players will bring their former teams a supplementary round pick if they decline arbitration to sign elsewhere. But teams don't have to give up their picks to sign Type Bs, which makes these players appealing as free agents.

  • John BuckJ. P. Arencibia is Toronto's catcher of the future, but it's easy to imagine the Blue Jays (or another team) offering Buck arbitration after the season. It worked last year, when the Jays got a supplemental rounder for losing Rod Barajas. Buck wouldn't make much through arbitration, so his Type B status boosts his trade value.
  • Jose Guillen – It's extremely hard to imagine the Royals offering arbitration. His Type B status does not affect his trade value.
  • Mike Lowell – Same goes for Lowell.
  • Kevin Millwood – And for Millwood.
  • Jason Frasor – Frasor makes only $2.65MM this year, so he wouldn't be making an overwhelming amount even if he accepted arbitration. Obtaining a pick for Frasor would be a plus, so his Type B status helps his trade value.
  • Derrek Lee – Given Lee's struggles and salary, it's hard to imagine his team offering arbitration.
  • Cristian Guzman – Guzman makes $8MM this year and though players aren't guaranteed raises via this kind of arbitration, Guzman isn't even worth his current salary on the open market. An arbitration offer seems unlikely, so his status doesn't affect his trade value.
  • Octavio Dotel –  Like Frasor, Dotel could see an offer of arbitration, depending on how he finishes the season, so his Type B status helps his trade value. The Pirates have a $4MM option for Dotel that becomes mutual if he is traded.
  • Aaron Heilman – It seems unlikely that the D'Backs would feel comfortable offering Heilman arbitration, given his inconsistent performance in 2010, so his status doesn't help his trade value.

Kennedy, Guzman Drawing Interest

The Nationals are drawing interest in Adam Kennedy and Cristian Guzman, but are not progressing towards a deal for either infielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Red Sox and Phillies are among the contenders who could look to acquire infield help, though none of those teams have necessarily called the Nationals.

Kennedy, 34, makes just $1.25MM this year ($2MM option or $500K buyout for 2011) so virtually any contender could afford his salary. His .240/.316/.327 line won't dazzle suitors, but he has postseason experience from his days in Anaheim and enough versatility to play first, second and third.

Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues says the Yankees shouldn't offer much for Kennedy, though he would fit the Yankees' needs better than Jeff Keppinger or Ty Wigginton.

Guzman earns $8MM this year, before hitting free agency after the season. The 32-year-old has a .299/.340/.377 line in 2010 and has spent time at second, short and in right field this year. That presumably appeals to rival teams, but Guzman can veto any trade because he has ten and five rights.