The Nationals made two contradictory maneuvers today that pretty much make no sense whatsoever. They traded Jon Rauch to the Diamondbacks for 23-year-old infielder Emilio Bonifacio and they signed shortstop Cristian Guzman to a two-year contract extension. So, is Nationals GM Jim Bowden clearing out some veterans or is he doing as he did last year with Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young and signing players like Guzman, whose value will never be higher, to nonsensical contract extensions?
Rauch is something that every single contender wants----a workhorse reliever who can close and is signed to a bargain-basement contract through 2010; am I alone in waiting to hear what else the Diamondbacks gave up to get him? Bonifacio is young, can run like the wind and has put up some promising numbers in the minors----stats----but did Rauch have to be traded now? A week before the deadline? As teams are still sifting through their needs and haven't gotten desperate due moves made by other contenders?
Rauch has pitched in over 85 games in each of the past two years, is only about to turn 30, throws strikes and doesn't give up many homers; he can close or set-up equally as well, and all Bowden got was a minor league infielder with no power? Bonifacio's numbers appear to bear promise of a very good big league player, but I have to believe that with all the factors surrounding Rauch (contract, durability, performance, salary), there could have been more coming back than just one player.
As for the Guzman contract, no matter what the Nationals are paying him (terms weren't disclosed), they can't be expecting him (or Belliard; or Young) to be around when and if the Nationals finally become contenders, so what do they need to keep him for? He's hitting .310 and made the All Star team; he's got "once-in-a-while" home run power and he's a pretty good fielder; he could've brought back a prospect, why sign him to an extension? Just like Belliard and Young, there was no reason to sign him to an extension and every reason to trade him; and with the way Belliard and Young have stumbled this year, one would think that Bowden would've learned his lesson, but apparently not.