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Friday, September 11, 2009
New keystone combo in D.C.?


Changes may be afoot in our nation's capital. No, I don't mean on Capitol Hill, where greed, ambition, and blind ideology will continue to carry the day. I mean in the middle of the Nationals' infield. From All Nats All the Time: The Nationals already have a new shortstop: Ian Desmond.

Well, sort of. After an up-and-down -- but mostly down -- track record in the minors, Desmond got everything together this season blowing through both Double- and Triple-A to earn a September call-up, and he debuted Thursday night with a double and a home run.

Just one problem: Desmond's defense. Oh, by all accounts he's got plenty of talent. It's the actual fielding of the baseball that sometimes gives him trouble. Last season, he made 23 errors in 96 games, which wasn't good but constituted slight improvement. This season, he's made 28 errors in 98 games. If you can't field better than .950 in the majors, they just won't let you play shortstop. So Desmond's still got some work to do.

It does seem that the Nationals are inclined to let him do that work in the majors. Apparently they're concerned about Guzman's defense at shortstop, and maybe they really are (though his numbers are no worse than usual). Really, I think the Nationals are simply doing what the Rangers did last spring: shifting a subpar shortstop to make room for a younger, more athletic shortstop (though it's not likely that Desmond will play defense on par with Elvis Andrus anytime soon).