Nats Extend Guzman for Two Years, Terms Undisclosed

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Nationals GM Jim Bowden just announced that the Nats have re-signed SS Cristian Guzman to a two-year extension, terms undisclosed. Here's the release:
The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with shortstop Cristian Guzman on a two-year contract extension through the 2010 season. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made this announcement.

Guzman has led the Nationals’ offense this season, batting .310 with 56 runs scored, 26 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 34 RBI in 96 games. For his efforts, he was chosen to represent the Nationals in this year’s All-Star Game, which was played last week in New York. Guzman entered today leading the National League with 129 hits (third in MLB), and boasts the circuit’s seventh-best batting average. His 38 multi-hit games are second in the NL, and his 13 three-hit games are tops in the league.

The switch-hitting shortstop has been the Nationals’ most-durable player this season, playing in a team-high 96 games. He also leads the club in batting, runs scored, hits, doubles and triples (tied). His 25 hits with runners in scoring position are tops on the Nationals, and his RBI total is second only to Jesus Flores’ 40.

Guzman became the franchise’s first All-Star shortstop since Wil Cordero represented the Montreal Expos in the 1994 Midsummer Classic. He became the first DC-based shortstop to represent The District in an All-Star Game since Rocky Bridges was selected but did not play in the 1958 game. This season marks the second All-Star campaign of Guzman’s career, as he also participated in the 2001 All-Star Game as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

The 30-year-old has batted .315 with 32 doubles, nine triples, seven home runs, 48 RBI and a .352 on-base percentage over the last two seasons (2007-08), since missing the entire 2006 campaign due to right-shoulder surgery. His batting average over the last two seasons is second-best among major league shortstops, behind only Florida’s Hanley Ramirez (.320).

Guzman was originally signed by the Nationals as a free agent on November 16, 2004, after playing his first six major league seasons with the Twins. The nine-year veteran has batted .268 with 193 doubles, 76 triples, 50 home runs, 368 RBI, 114 stolen bases and a .305 on-base percentage during his career.
Bottom(feeder) Line: Once the terms become public, we'll have something to digest here. Guzman has not been the problem this season, posting good overall numbers, despite his OBP being a little low for a traditional lead-off hitter. If the Nats could acquire someone better suited for the job, Guz would be a perfectly acceptable #2 or #7-8 hitter. It's symptomatic of the Nats' ills though that they trumpet him as an offensive force, since his OPS+ is an even 100, exactly average for his position. And just pleae re-read the last six words of the press release. THAT is the Nats' lone offensive weapon right now.

But like I said, we don't know how good or bad this is until we see the numbers.