Nothing against him personally, but based on some of the coverage, I think there's some confusion about the significance of signing Eddie Guardado to a minor league contract.
Bill Ladson did a whole post on the signing, declaring that he'll be a "big help to the club" and is "expected to serve as a setup man." Chico Harlan dedicated three whole paragraphs to Guardado in an article about how the Nationals are "having one of baseball's best winters."
Let's be clear: Guardado hasn't been a good pitcher since Stephen Strasburg was in high school. That's no knock on him--he's 39 years old. He's always been an extreme flyball pitcher, which was ok when he was striking out 9.31 hitters per nine innings. But that was seven years, six Ks per 9, and five mph ago.
His leverage indices (LI) over the past three seasons are 0.95, 1.31, and 0.67. That means he's a mop-up man. And last year, he wasn't even better against lefties than righties, so there's not much reason to count on him to be the obligatory fat LOOGY.
And this business about "Everyday Eddie" is totally out of control. It's a cute nickname, but why does every article seem to mention it, as if it's relevant. The guy has thrown 108 innings in the last three years.
Even in his prime, he was never really that much of a workhorse. His heaviest workload came in 2002, when he threw 67.2 innings in 68 appearances. Jon Rauch has exceeded that total each of the last four seasons. Saul Rivera threw more innings in both 2007 and 2008. Luis Ayala beat it three straight seasons from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2008 after getting his elbow ligament replaced. Chad Cordero threw more innings four straight seasons from 2004 to 2007. Even Jesus Colome gave the Nationals more innings in 2008.
I don't hold any of this against Rizzo. There isn't anything wrong with inviting an over-the-hill reliever to spring training. Kip Wells, Wil Ledezma, Julian Tavarez... Guardado is the latest of that ilk, and he'll probably fare no better. The problem is using guys like this in key roles. Bringing in Odalis Perez for depth or even as a fifth starter wouldn't have been so bad. Bringing him in to start on opening day is a sign of an organization in total disarray.
But let's hope that the over-reporting of the signing isn't indicative of the expectations within the organization. Best case scenario, Guardado doesn't have any more of an impact on the team than Corey Patterson did in 2009.