The Nats get smart: they move Guzman to second and seek a glove for short

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The Nationals have made a lot of smart moves since tossing Jim Bowden over the side last year. Giving the reins to Mike Rizzo is one. Setting aside their Boras-phobia and paying for Strasburg was another.  Sticking with Jim Riggleman was the right move in my mind as well. 

The latest?  Making it clear that Cristian Guzman is not their shortstop anymore.  They’re going to stick him at second, Riggleman said yesterday, and it’s the smart way to go.  Any young, building team (there is no “re” about it in their case) needs solid defense in order to get the young pitching staff through their inevitable early struggles.  The classic example of this is the Braves chucking any hope at offense and putting Rafael Belliard at short back in 1991. The Nats aren’t there yet — this is still very much like the 1988-89 Braves we’re dealing with here — but if the Nats put a solid glove at short next to the Gold Glove-winning Ryan Zimmerman, they’ll really be doing themselves — and their pitchers — a favor.

So who goes to short?  Rosenthal reports that Rizzo is looking at Adam Everett and Alex Gonzalez. Riggleman mentions prospect Ian Desmond. Desmond has been described as having excellent range and a great arm, though he has been erratic at times.  He showed some nice hitting skills in his brief callup last year, but if I’m the Nats, any offense I get from short is gravy.

If Everett or Gonzalez can be had on the cheap, sure, plug ’em in on a one-year deal and give Desmond a little more time to ease into things.  If not, just take the plunge with Desmond.

What’s the worst that’ll happen?  The Nats will lose some games?

Marcell Ozuna scratched from Cardinals lineup because he overslept

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna was scratched from Wednesday afternoon’s starting lineup because he overslept and missed the scheduled report time to the ballpark. Ozuna appeared in the on-deck circle late in the game but didn’t get a chance to pinch-hit as the Cardinals lost 5-2 to the Royals in 10 innings. The lowly Royals took two of three in the series.

The Cardinals acquired Ozuna from the Marlins back in December. He hasn’t hit much for the Cardinals thus far, batting .253/.295/.331 with three home runs and 22 RBI in 190 plate appearances. He was an All-Star last year, finishing with a .312 average and a .924 OPS along with 37 homers and 124 RBI.

It’s amusing reading some of the replies to Goold’s tweet. More than a handful of Cardinals fans are upset with Ozuna for oversleeping. Who among us has not overslept for school or work? Of course, a lot of the antipathy has to do with Ozuna’s lack of hitting. If he had a .900 OPS, it would be a lot easier for fans to forgive him.