WASHINGTON – Infielder Cristian Guzman is heading to the first-place Rangers from the last-place Nationals in a deal that sends two minor league pitchers to Washington.
"It's not an official trade until the paperwork goes through. In 24 hours, it'll be official," Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Friday, before the Nationals hosted the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Rangers have been busy ahead of Saturday's deadline for non-waiver trades, also adding ace Cliff Lee from Seattle, third baseman Jorge Cantu from Florida, and catcher Bengie Molina from San Francisco. The Guzman deal comes a day after Rangers All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin.
Guzman needed to OK the move because players with at least 10 years of major league service, including five consecutive years with their current club, cannot be traded without their consent. Guzman made his debut in the majors with Minnesota in 1999 and joined the Nationals in 2005.
"We've been made aware of the trade, and we've given our approval," Guzman's agent, Stanley King, said in a telephone interview. "He enjoyed the six years he spent in Washington, but it became clear that Cristian wasn't in their future. He's excited about getting into a pennant race."
The 32-year-old Guzman is hitting .282 with two homers and 25 RBIs in 2010 while seeing time at second base, shortstop and right field for the Nationals. He's been a shortstop throughout his career but lost his starting job at that spot to rookie Ian Desmond during spring training this year.
Guzman is a two-time All-Star, with a career .272 batting average and .308 on-base percentage. He was among the first players signed by the Expos-Nationals franchise during the offseason before it began play in Washington in 2005. His current $16 million, two-year deal ends after this season.
Guzman initially was listed in Washington's lineup Friday, batting second and playing second base. But his name was whited out, and Adam Kennedy took over Guzman's spot in the batting order and in the field. When the Nationals' clubhouse opened Friday afternoon, Guzman was not there, and his locker had been cleaned out.
Washington gets right-handed starters Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark from the Rangers. At Double-A Frisco this season, the 25-year-old Tatusko is 9-2 with a 2.97 ERA, while the 23-year-old Roark is 10-5 with a 4.20 ERA.
Both the Nationals and Rangers have been busy in the leadup to Saturday's deadline for making non-waiver deals. On Thursday night, Washington traded All-Star closer Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins for top catching prospect Wilson Ramos and minor league left-hander Joe Testa.
And there could be more: Rizzo is listening to offers for first baseman Adam Dunn, who entered Friday tied for second in the NL with 24 homers.
"There's a lot of teams interested in Adam Dunn," Rizzo said. "The closer to the deadline it gets, the more pressure is on the teams to come with something that makes sense for me to trade one of the best offensive players in baseball."
Added Rizzo: "The price won't come down."
The GM wouldn't discuss negotiations on a contract extension for Dunn, who can become a free agent after this season.
Dunn said he is "frustrated more than disappointed" that no extension has been reached.
"I know there's a business side of it, but I really did expect to get something done and at least make a little progress," he said. "It just hasn't worked out that way."
While Dunn has said he would prefer to play in the field, he would be fine with being traded to an AL team that wants to use him as a designated hitter for the rest of 2010.
"This is DH-ing for two months or whatever," Dunn said. "It's not like if I make this move, it's career-ending."