Former All-Star closer turned journeyman reliever, Eddie Guardado was signed to a minor league contract with invitation to Nationals camp prior to the 2010 season.
We have learned there aren’t many off days during the baseball offseason. General manager Mike Rizzo made a Christmas Eve trade this year, acquiring slugging first baseman Josh Bell, to prove that point. With further upgrades needed to the team, Nationals fans watch the transaction wire with bated breath. While it may seem not much will happen between Christmas Day and New Years, moves are apt to happen. Like the time the Washington Nationals signed Eddie Guardado to a minor league contract on December 28th, 2009.
Guardado rose to prominence as the Minnesota Twins closer in the early 2000s, after years of serving in middle relief. His best year was his All-Star campaign of 2002 when he saved a league best 45 games with a 2.93 ERA.
By this point he already had one of the best nicknames in the business. Rumor has it Everday Eddie was the one in the Twins bullpen who answered the phone when it was time to get a pitcher warming, most times electing to start throwing himself even if he wasn’t getting the nod. Guardado could pitch numerous days in a row if needed, and led all of baseball in appearances with 83 in 1996.
After 11 years in Minnesota, Guardado left for Seattle signing what essentially turned out to be a 3 YR/$13M contract. After saving 59 games for the Mariners, Guardado began his nomadic ways. He spent time in Cincinnati before returning to Minnesota, and then onto Texas for a stint.
At age 39, the Nationals signed Everyday Eddie to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training to see if he could earn a spot on the club.
With the hopes he would mentor a younger pitching staff, Guardado couldn’t get hitters out at a good enough clip to justify giving him a spot on the major league team. He was released prior to the start of the season, and his playing career was effectively over.
The Eddie Guardado experiment didn’t work out, though we’ll have solace knowing the Nationals were close to employing a guy with one of the best baseball nicknames in the business.