The Nationals have asked Cristian Guzman to consider moving to second base next season, a potential switch that caught Guzman off-guard but one the organization feels would make sense if there’s an opportunity to acquire another shortstop this winter.
GM Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman met with Guzman before yesterday’s game in D.C. Both said Guzman was surprised at the request. They didn’t seek an immediate “yes” or “no” answer from him, but as Riggleman pointed out today, it doesn’t necessarily matter what Guzman thinks.
“That’s really not even a factor,” Riggleman said. “We’ll make the call on that. The player doesn’t make the call on that. That’ll be our call. … It’s about what’s best for the team. And if the best thing for the team is Guzy’s at shortstop because we found another second baseman, that’s the way we go. We’re all human. We consider other people’s feelings. But it’s secondary to what we need to do.”
Guzman declined to comment when approached by reporters today. Rizzo said the club wants to acquire a middle infielder this winter, either a shortstop or a second baseman. He believes Guzman is capable of playing either position effectively.
“It’s just opening a door for conversation,” Rizzo said. “We need a middle infielder. A good, everyday middle infielder. You’re one of the two guys. If what we can get and makes sense for us is a shortstop, then we broached the question that he goes to second.”
Meanwhile, Ian Desmond worked out at second base this afternoon, and Riggleman said the rookie could see action there or even in the outfield before the season ends. The organization still views Desmond long-term as a shortstop, though.