Thursday, November 12, 2009

Forget Dan Uggla and Mark DeRosa

That's my interpretation of the Jim Riggleman's comment today that Cristian Guzman will be the team's second baseman in 2010.

(Of course, this was a Bill Ladson report, so there's always a chance that the old Hamburgler just made it up.)

Barring a trade, which is all but impossible with Guzman's $8 million contract, Guzman was always going to be in the starting lineup somewhere in 2010. Guzman isn't really in decline, but Rizzo wants to upgrade the infield defense, and typically moving a guy from short to second is worth about four runs or half a win over the course of a season.

Going into the off-season, I thought their best course of action would be to shop for the best shortstop or second baseman that they could find, and then stick Guzman wherever's left. Given that the second base market is a good bit stronger than shortstop, I hoped they'd keep their minds open a bit. Mark DeRosa is a far better player than any free agent shortstop out there.

And Dan Uggla, who is being shopped by the Fish, plays bad defense, but his bat makes up for plenty, especially compared to a guy like Adam Everett. If the Marlins wanted to salary-dump Uggla for another C-minus prospect, I'd do that.

(Sorry all you Marco Scutaro fans, but I'm assuming the Nationals won't be giving up any draft picks to sign a type A free agent this off-season, and I hope I'm right.)

But it appears that if Guzman is locked into second. Ian Desmond will get some looks at short and will probably be starting by loss #80 or so. But I see really no chance that Rizzo goes into spring training with Desmond as plan A at the position.

So it looks like we'll be shopping from a list of glove-first shortstops including the aforementioned Everett, Alex Gonzalez, Omar Vizquel, or Jack Wilson (if Seattle declines his $8.4 million option). My money's on Everett.


Matteo said...

Sadly I think your right in on this one. I could deal with Jack Wilson but I'm guessing he will have a few options on where to go and I'm sure Washington is not on the top of his list. I guess we can hold out hope that Rizzo can pull an antiBowden trade (our trash for another teams decent young player) but I won't hold my breath. Is it possible the Lerners might sign off on a package deal where we ate most of Guz's salary to get a good player?
BTW- Thanks for your great work on the site. It's become a must read for unvarnished Nats news.

Rob B said...

I would love to get Wilson, as well. I think he's got to be one of the more underrated players in the game.
But after spending almost his entire career with a jack-off organization like the Pirates how the hell do we sell him on this town?

Sasskuash said...

I disagree that DeRosa or Uggla would work on this team, especially if it means keeping Guzman at SS. I know both of them keep positive WAR numbers because of their bats, but both play below average to awful defense in the infield. DeRosa played most of his time at 3B last year, and was -8.7 UZR/150. In '08 he played mostly 2B and was -15.9 UZR/150 (For DeRosa, I'm using UZR/150 because he did not get a full season worth of starts at any 1 position). Uggla was a -10 UZR at 2B last year in 158 games. Those numbers are worse than anybody who played at least 50 games at 2B for the Nats last year (the Nats range was (-8.0) - +9.0 in the UZR/150 stat for all 2B who played 50 games or more at the position).

I also think that Guzman's fielding numbers are inflated by having Zimmerman and his superhuman range covering probably 1/3 or what is usually SS territory. From watching this team, Guzman struggles getting balls to his left. I can't say how well he is moving to the right, because anything to the right is swallowed by Zim.

I know that both Uggla and DeRosa add a lot to the lineup with their bats, which is why they are both in the +3 WAR territory. However, when I look at the middle infield defense up the middle with Guzman at SS and either of those at 2B, you are feeding your pitching to the wolves with bad defense. This team would give away so many outs that I see visions of 2009 (pre-Morgan) all over again. We need more defensive stength out of at least 1 (if not both) of our MI positions, and neither DeRosa nor Uggla provides that.

Jon said...

What about Chone Figgins at SS?

Sasskuash said...

Just for clarity's sake, both of DeRosa's UZR numbers in my previous post are negative. The minus sign is cut separated from the number by the end of the column, so they might appear to be positive at first glance.

Steven said...

I suspect Figgins at 2B and Guzman at SS would be better than the other way around. But you're right, he'd be another option in the MI if you were willing to sign a type A.

Steven said...

suss--I hear you, but if the choice is Guzman and Alex Gonzalez or Adam Everett v. Guzman and Derosa or Uggla, wouldn't you take the latter?

Sasskuash said...

I don't think I would. Our offense was not an issue this past season. Your replacing Anderson Hernandez/Alex Gonzalez/Ronnie Belliard (with his Nats stats, not the Dodgers stats)/Pete Orr at the plate. They gave you next to nothing at the plate, yet your offense still performed well enough. If you keep that same offense in tact, but upgrade the glove I think that helps your defense and pitching enough to add more wins than an extra bat at the plate while opening wider gaps in the field. IMO.

Steve Shoup said...

I know its far fetched but I think the Nats should trade guzman for another bad contract, preferably a pitcher. I might not like the idea of Bonderman or Arroyo, but for the $3-5 million difference between Guz and them i'd say they are worth it. (not to mention it opens up 2b for a decent player)