According to several sources (including from the horse's mouth/ass), it may not be long before the Nationals' first round draft pick, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, is brought up to replace Cristian Guzman at shortstop. In fact, he already has moved to shortstop in AA Harrisburg, starting last night in the Senators' 7-0 loss to Bowie.
Now I have no problem with moving Dutch to short, on a permanent or short-term basis. Seriously. The third base-shortstop switch been done plenty of times before, to sometimes great results. I have no doubt that he has the skill needed in order to make the adjustment to another position. Apparently, one scout even likes him better at short as opposed to third base. Dutch also played a lot of shortstop at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach, moving to third base full-time because
It does bother me, however, that this smacks of desparation from our circus master/general manager Jim "P.T." Bowden. Think about it: Cristian Guzman at shortstop is the team's highest profile and most obvious problem. Bowden's most glaring mistake is signing Guzman to a four-year, $16.8 million contract while giving up high draft picks in the process.
Zimmerman was Bowden's first draft pick. Calling him up to replace Guzman is a high-profile way to fix your biggest mistake with one of "your boys." It really bothers me that it seems that Bowden is willing to take a risk with Zimmerman's development in order to cover his ass. There are other options besides Dutch.
It's clear that Guzman is a problem that needs to be fixed. Jamey Carroll is not the solution for any period of time much longer than a few days. Despite his limited experience, Junior Spivey may be worth a look at short once he returns from injury. But Brendan Harris, Rick Short (pictured at left), Kevin Orie, and Juan Melo are all option the Nats have in the minor leagues.
Calling up Zimmerman and playing him could possibly tamper with his development and also start the clock on his option years, opening him up to the waiver wire and Rule V eligibility earlier than planned.
Dutch can and may do very well at shortstop in the big leagues. But while there are several other viable options, is it really worth risking the biggest minor league investment just to cover an interim GM's ass?