Washington Nationals: Grading Mike Rizzo’s 10 biggest trades
By Brian Foley
2010 with Texas
Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko for Cristian Guzman
This remains Rizzo’s finest trade yet. This trade is not even totally about Roark. The fact that Mike Rizzo was able to get anyone to take Guzman off the Nationals’ hands remains remarkable. Guzman was an expensive, 31-year-old shortstop who played average defense and swung the bat like it was a pool noodle. Even though Texas felt like it was just giving up two lottery tickets for a veteran, it baffles me why the Rangers would even want Guzman in the first place.
Here’s the thing about lottery tickets; once in a blue moon, you hit the jackpot. Sure, Tatusko never did anything of note, but Roark completely turned this deal on its head.
When the Nationals acquired Roark, he was 23 and scuffling in Double-A. Even once he was firmly entrenched in the Nats system, he failed to impress until 2013, when he posted a 3.15 ERA with an improved strikeout rate in Triple-A.
Roark found his way to the majors that season, and stayed hot through his cup of coffee. He earned a spot in the starting rotation the following year, and the rest is history. Sure, he has strangely bounced from dominating to hittable every other season, but at the very least the Nationals acquired a multi-year innings eater for the tail end of Guzman’s subpar career.
Over parts of five seasons with the Nationals, Roark has earned a little over $6 million while pitching to a 3.31 ERA and a 9.1 WAR. Guzman posted less than four wins above replacement during his five years in Washington. Not bad for a mere lottery ticket.