Cristian Guzman's Trade Value

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, March 18, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you already know where this is going.

Anyway, once again Cristian Guzman's name is popping up in trade rumors.  Yesterday, a New York reporter tweeted that the Mets might be interested in Guzman with Jose Reyes battling a thyroid condition.  No sooner did that tweet pop up did denials from the Mets come pouring in.  Sounds like idle speculation to me.

Because here's the thing, which may come as a surprise to some:  Cristian Guzman isn't very good.

You can parse the numbers anyway you like.

He has a lifetime .307 on base percentage.  Not batting average. On Base Percentage.

Last season, his OBP was .306.  He is what he is.  

Guzman walked 16 times in 555 plate appearances.  You know how bad that is?  Ubaldo Jiminez, a pitcher, walked six times in 77 plate appearances.  Extrapolated out to 555 plate appearances, Jiminez would have walked 43 times.

I know that's raw and a small sample size.  I'm just sayin'.

He brings no power, no speed and no patience.

What he brings to the table offensively is an empty batting average.  If, like in his "all-star" year of 2008, he can hit ..316 and accidentally have an OBP of .345, he's not that big of a drain on the offense.

If he's hitting eighth.  At the top of the order, it's embarrassing.

But you know how many times in his ten seasons he's posted a batting average of .316 over a full season?

Once.  In 2008.  When his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was .337, 30 points higher that league average.  While it's not an outrageous BABIP, suggesting Guzman was more than simply lucky, he did benefit from a few more balls dropping in than average.

Defensively, he was fifth worst last season in the majors among shortstops that qualified with a UZR/150 of -2.6.

On top of all that, he's due another $8 million on his reward contract that Jim Bowden so graciously gave him several years ago.

The only people that think Cristian Guzman has any trade value are people that still think that batting average is a good metric to evaluate a baseball player. 

I wish the Nationals could trade Cristian Guzman. I really do. But if Omar Minaya doesn't want him, guess what? The Nats are stuck with him.

The best that the Nats can hope for is to play him, hope he catches fire for a few weeks (batting around .340 and OBPing .345), and flip him to a contender that has a catastrophic injury at short.

If Guzman starts at short and Ian Desmond is sent to Syracuse to start the season, that's what Mike Rizzo will be hoping for.

I'd be shocked if anything else happens.