The Washington Times - August 9, 2009, 12:58PM

Cristian Guzman has played considerably better (both at the plate and in the field) the last couple weeks. That’s been a good thing for the Nationals, who need their starting shortstop to hit well over .300 out of the No. 2 hole while also playing strong defense.

But Guzman’s improved play also makes him more attractive to contending teams. And indeed, the Boston Globe reported this morning that the Red Sox have put in a waiver claim for Guzman. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Tons of players get claimed on waivers every year after Aug. 1, and most are never known about. That’s because a team has the right to pull a claimed player back and retain him. Also, it should be noted that every team in the majors has the opportunity to put in a claim for Guzman, starting with the NL team with the worst record to the NL team with the best record, then the AL team with the worst record to the AL team with the best record. So Boston has 26 teams ahead of it when it comes to claiming an NL player.

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That said, if Guzman does slip through and the Red Sox are the only team to claim him, the Nationals then can decide whether to simply let Boston assume his contract ($8 million this season and $8 million next season) or whether to try to work out a trade. From the people I’ve talked to this morning, the sense I get is that the Nats would prefer to get something in return for Guzman.

In other words, there’s a lot standing in the way of this actually happening, though it’s not out of the question.