Friday, March 12, 2010

The Meaning of the Guardado Cut (assuming there is one)

There are three ways to interpret the Eddie Guardado experience. First, and by far the most likely, Mike Rizzo gave him an invite to camp thinking he was worth a look, he wasn't impressed, and now Everyday Eddie's gone. Simple as that.

The second theory is that Rizzo really did think what Bill Ladson and Tom Boswell 'reported,' that Guardado was considered an important signing for the team, and by cutting him so quickly, he's showing some fairly erratic judgment. Frankly I just don't buy that at all. Ladson and Boswell write dumb stuff all the time, and John Dever sometimes tries to hard to make news where there isn't any. Rizzo doesn't have a track record of massively overvaluing obviously bad pitchers. It just doesn't pass the ol' Occam's razor test.

The third possibility is the rosiest. Rizzo signed Guardado in order to have a fall-back plan on hand in case something goes wrong with the first 7-8 relief pitchers he actually expected to use. This is good practice and is to be applauded. You don't want to get to opening day with no options in case, oh let's say your plan for Mike Hinckley to indefinitely maintain a zero ERA falls through.

But perhaps Rizzo's willingness to move on quickly from Guardado is a sign that he's feeling better than he expected to at this point about plan A. Perhaps he's feeling confident about the so-so veterans like Sean Burnett, Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, and Jason Bergmann to give him 60 solidly so-so innings each--or that maybe one of those guys might be even better than that. Maybe he's looking at Drew Storen and thinking he really does have this year's Andrew Bailey on his hands. Maybe he's looking at young guys like Luis Atilano and Atahualpa Severino, and thinking, "ok, that'll play." Maybe he's just (knock on wood) seeing fewer injuries than you have to plan for.

(Now, before you go posting double-digit spring training ERAs in the comments, let me repeat that I think this is pretty unlikely, and I'm choosing for one day to throw out some happy thoughts, so lemme have my moment ok?)

There's actually a fourth theory that pops to mind, which is that Stan Kasten, in his insatiable need to show players and agents what a big strong man he is, decided to mess with Guardado to get back at him for the bad press he got after the "the effing Nationals?!?" incident in 2008. That's probably not what happened, but I bet Stan wishes it had.


23 said...

I second the statements about Boz and Ladson. I take literally everything they say with a grain of salt. Ladson's the one who keeps pulling for the Nats to keep Desmond around as a utility guy, for crying out loud.

I think that Rizzo saw something he didn't like about Guardado and figured that he would give a veteran a chance to catch on somewhere else, rather than wait until it's too late. I trust Rizzo on this one, since he's the one who actually knows how to scout ballplayers.

Let's all hope that the rest of the bullpen shapes up so he's not proven wrong on Everyday Eddie.

JayB said...

I think Rizzo while a huge improvement over Jimbo is proving out why he is not been given a GM job before now and why he was so willing to sit and wait for his only shot with the Lerner led Nats.

I think the most important move he had to make over the winter he blew, that is Chapman. He told fans repeatedly over over the Fan Fest weekend that it was his call on the Chapman deal. That he made the evaluation of what to offer and he could have offered more but decided not to go above $25 Million. That he had no regrets and is glad he did not over pay in his view. That is BS and just the type of GM spin that this team has to stop if they want fans to believe this team is going in the right direction. Rizzo knows he blew the Chapman bidding and that $30 Million or $25 Million is that same thing over the life of the contract.

All this leads me to say...Rizzo is no better than Jimbo as far as doing what is needed to build a winner.

David said...

You are correct Steven, there is no reason. In fact I cannot think of a good reason that he was invited to spring training? Maybe no one saw him pitch last year?

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peric said...

Thank you JayB!


Looks like I A NOT THE ONLY ONE who likes to bring up the fact that losing Chapman when they should have signed the guy WAS A HUGE blow to Mike Rizzo's plan to jump start this team to respectability rapidly ... even though the cupboard is still very bare as far as the farm system. That was a much worst blow than losing Crow that's for sure. Especially since Rizzo knew what he had in Aroldis Chapman ... ITS HUGE. And I do wish that Boz would remonstrate them for it because they seem to listen to him.

Still they are learning to be owners ... and we the fans are gong to be stuck with there "learning experiences".

Anonymous said...

Bringing in Guardado for a tryout was not a bad move. He had a huge home/road split last year in the hitter's park that the Rangers played in.

Home: 5.62 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
Road: 2.51 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

It was possible that he would have decent success moving to the weaker league in a neutral ballpark.