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The Return of Eddie Guardado?

Courtesy of Joe Christensen at the Strib online.

With word that the Twins had expressed interest in their former closer back in July, now that the Texas Rangers have placed the southpaw on waivers it may only be a matter of time before we hear that Minnesota has placed their claim. Christensen's prediction, however, wasn't optimistic as far as consumation would go:

Following up on my note about the Twins’ interest in Eddie Guardado, I was told they had talks with the Rangers before the July 31 deadline but Texas wanted to get something good in return.

Now, Guardado is believed to be on waivers, and the Twins will likely make a claim, but they don’t think Texas will move him this time, either.

While I have little doubt that Guardado would improve bullpen depth, he isn't without some red flags. His strikeout rates, which always helped him out of those jams he put himself into, are barely half of what they were at his peak with the Twins. At the same time, his walk rates haven't budged from last season, and so for the first time since 1998 sees his K:BB ratio slip below 2:1. Additionally, his velocity continues to drop, as his average fastball now clocks in at 85.9 mph...which makes it about seven miles per hour faster than his changeup.

In spite of those things, he's put together a solid season in relief for the Rangers. His home run rate is scraping the bottom of the barrel (just 0.59 HR/9), batters are hitting .202/.265/.345 off of him, and he's barely allowing a base runner per inning with a 1.01 WHIP. For an extreme fly-ball pitcher (55%) those are very good signs, because no matter now nervous he makes the fans he's doing what he's been asked to do for years as a relief pitcher: get results.

Now we wait. As the Twins put their claim on Guardado, the only stopping block will likely be whether the asking price is acceptable, or (more likely) whether the asking price is more suitable for a team looking to make a quick kill on a squad desperate for bullpen help. If the Rangers think they're better served going for the latter, they'll come up empty handed. And rightfully so.

2008 - Eddie Guardado 3-2 53 0 0 0 4 0 47.2 34 17 17 3 14 26 3.21 1.01