<
>

New keystone combo in D.C.?

Changes may be afoot in our nation's capital. No, I don't mean on Capitol Hill, where greed, ambition, and blind ideology will continue to carry the day. I mean in the middle of the Nationals' infield. From All Nats All the Time:

    The Nationals may not be looking to sign a free agent like second baseman Orlando Hudson this offseason.
    It was learned that general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman had a private meeting with shortstop Cristian Guzman on Thursday afternoon and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.

    Guzman, who did not give Rizzo and Riggleman an answer, was in shock and told them he never played second base in his life. The only other position Guzman has played other than shortstop was in the 2008 All-Star Game when he played third base for the National League team.

    If Guzman agrees to the switch, that means the Nationals most likely will look for a shortstop during the offseason.

The Nationals already have a new shortstop: Ian Desmond.
Well, sort of. After an up-and-down -- but mostly down -- track record in the minors, Desmond got everything together this season blowing through both Double- and Triple-A to earn a September call-up, and he debuted Thursday night with a double and a home run.

Just one problem: Desmond's defense. Oh, by all accounts he's got plenty of talent. It's the actual fielding of the baseball that sometimes gives him trouble. Last season, he made 23 errors in 96 games, which wasn't good but constituted slight improvement. This season, he's made 28 errors in 98 games. If you can't field better than .950 in the majors, they just won't let you play shortstop. So Desmond's still got some work to do.

It does seem that the Nationals are inclined to let him do that work in the majors. Apparently they're concerned about Guzman's defense at shortstop, and maybe they really are (though his numbers are no worse than usual). Really, I think the Nationals are simply doing what the Rangers did last spring: shifting a subpar shortstop to make room for a younger, more athletic shortstop (though it's not likely that Desmond will play defense on par with Elvis Andrus anytime soon).