Well, I’m sure this is a move we all kind of saw coming, but somehow thought it would be screwed up somehow. They didn’t. Ian Desmond was named the starting Shortstop, moving Cristian Guzman to a utility role, and the “angry man” spot, previously occupied by Jose Guillen, Alfonso Soriano (briefly), and Felipe Lopez. This of course happens the day after Guzman looks like a world beater against the Mets going 3 for 4. I guess that’s how that goes.
Riggleman announced that Desmond wouldn’t get 600 ab this year, and that there would be more of a rotation depending on how was hotter. He also claimed that the shoulder had nothing to do with Guzman’s demotion. This is undoubtedly some trade promotion spin, which Rizzo probably scripted. The best case scenario would be Desmond playing well, and a willing trade partner to take Guzman and his salary.
Much has been made of Guzman’s low OBP, poor defense and weak arm. I would speculate that some teams wouldn’t mind his wild slap hitting ways in exchange for average defense, but for a team that needs strong up the middle defense, this move had to be made. However, I think the point that will become evident is that Desmond is not a gold glover either. Hopefully, Danny Espinosa continues to develop in Harrisburg and can challenge Desmond in the coming years.
The other move that was announced this Sunday morning was that Justin Maxwell had been sent to AAA Syracuse to being the season.
The team had practically indicated that Maxwell, with even an average spring, would be the guy in Right Field after the release of Elijah Dukes this month. Maxwell couldn’t seize hold of the spot, hitting .102 and striking out 20 times in 49 at bats. That won’t do. I believe Maxwell realizes that his career is slipping away, and will take the demotion better than last year. If he performs well, I can see Maxwell coming back up and playing Right this season, unless the team signs a proven RF. The other options don’t seem like they’ll be able to stave off a strong challenge from Maxwell, if he can provide that.
FJB saying that Willie Harris in RF isn’t the Nats biggest problem. I disagree, and the chart the he showed had Harris as the forth worst RF in the league. Production is necessary from that spot, even with above average power at 1B, and 3B, and likely league average production in LF.
Nationals Enquirer looking at the effect of Strasburg on the Harrisburg Senators.
Brian at NFA says what he thinks of Desmond being the SS.
NatsStats has an informative chart that shows where the Nats pitchers are performing in re: ground ball and strike outs. The position of Scott Olsen on the chart is highly illustrative.