VIERA, Fla. -- Ever since the day this winter the Nationals announced they had signed Eddie Guardado to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, I'd been dying to ask the veteran left-hander about a particular incident from his past involving this franchise.
It was July 31, 2008, and Guardado was pitching for the Rangers. He was having a good season, and Texas wasn't in a pennant race, so he knew there was a chance he could get traded before the 4 p.m. Eastern deadline. Sure enough, he got called into GM Jon Daniels' office and was told he'd been dealt to the Nationals. As the story goes, Guardado blew his stack, insulted that he'd just been traded to the worst team in the majors. Turns out it was all a practical joke, though Nats fans may not have found Guardado's reaction so hilarious.
So clearly, he needed to be asked about this whole incident now that he actually CHOSE to sign with the Nationals. This morning, a couple of us were interviewing Guardado and brought the story up. Here's his full answer, edited for a family audience, of course...
"Let me try to explain," Guardado said. "Hey, it's the big leagues. But I was pitching good. I was throwing the ball good. I was like, what the [expletive] am I going do in Washington? If I was going to get traded, I wanted to go to a contender. That was the whole thing. It was nothing against the organization. It just came out wrong. Because I was hot.
"I was in the steam room, getting ready. It was toward that deadline, and [manager Ron Washington] pulls me out of the steam room and says, 'Eddie, come here.' I'm like, 'Aw, [expletive].' I'm soaking wet, and he says, 'Hey man, they want you upstairs.' Are you [expletive] kidding me? Where am I going? That's exactly what I said. And he goes, 'Eh, you gotta go talk to [Daniels].' I go, 'Skip, I at least deserve that. Where am I going?' He says, 'I think it's the Washington Nationals.' I go, 'The [expletive] Nationals?! What the [expletive] am I going to do there? [Expletive] this [expletive]!'
"So I'm soaked. I get my my slippers on, they take me upstairs, soaked. J.D. and all the brass is in there. I walk in and say, 'What the [expletive] is going on?' I was hot. And he looked at me and was like, 'Oh, come here, man.' So he took me down there and said, 'We're just [messing] with you.' And I said, 'You were about to go through that window!' He goes, 'No, we're just [messing] with you. April Fools, or whatever.' And I go, 'You mother [expletive]. I was about to chew you [guys] out.' Excuse my language. But that was the story. They got me. They got me.
"Hey, I've got nothing but respect [for the Nationals]. They were the first team that called me this winter and gave me an invite. They showed me respect, and that's what it's all about. It's all respect. I'm a respect guy. That's how I grew up. ... When they called, I said, sure, why not?"