Rauch Dealt To D'backs; Guzman Inks Extension

(Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty)

Jim Bowden and the Nationals jumped into the trading frenzy by sending reliever Jon Rauch Arizona on Tuesday. They also made a move to re-sign Cristian Guzman to a two-year deal, keeping him off the free agent market.

Jon Rauch, who was being scouted heavily by the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, was dealt on Tuesday, but not to either of those teams. Instead, the Nationals completed a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks to send the right-hander - who had been serving as the team's closer - west for a second base prospect, Emilio Bonifacio.

Rauch had taken over as the Nationals closer when Chad Cordero was lost for the season and has converted 17 of 22 save opportunities. On the season, Rauch is 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA.

Bonifacio, who FutureBacks.com ranked as the D'backs 15th best prospect coming into the season, will become the heir apparent at second base for the Nationals. Bonifacio hit .302 in 85 games at Triple-A Tucson this season before joining the Diamondbacks roster on July Fourth. The 23 year old is hitting just .167 in 8 games with Arizona this season and hit .217 in 11 games in the majors last season. While he has played primarily at second base, he has also spent some time at shortstop and has also played both left and right field both in the minors and at the major league level.

"He plays at 100 miles an hour," said Arizona infield coordinator Tony Perezchica when asked about Bonifacio earlier this season. "We've got to harness all that energy and smooth it out a little bit more."

The speedy Bonifacio is strong defensively and has blazing speed. Last season, he stole 41 bases in 54 attempts at Double-A Mobile and had 17 stolen bases this season at Triple-A. In the majors, he's 1-for-2 in the stolen base department.

Rauch was having his best major league season and ranked fourth in the majors with a 6.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season and will make just $2 million next season. The D'backs will also inherit a $2.9 million option for the 2010 season.

As for Guzman, the Nationals had been trying for the past couple of months to get a deal done with him and finally got one worked out on Tuesday. The terms of the two-year deal were not announced. Guzman leads the National League with 129 hits and is second in the league with 38 multi-hit games. Guzman, who is hitting .310, has adapted pretty well to hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Nationals this season, but has dropped lower in the order with the absence of Lastings Milledge, who is on the DL.


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