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Nats offer Guzman two-year extension

Nats offer Guzman two-year extension

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WASHINGTON -- In late May, it was reported that the Nationals and shortstop Cristian Guzman were not going to negotiate a contract extension during the 2008 season. His agent, Stanley King, didn't want Guzman, who is a free agent after the season, to lose focus on the field.

Things have changed.

Guzman is still focused on the field, but, according to a baseball source, the Nationals are talking to King about a new deal for Guzman. The Nationals offered Guzman a two-year deal on Wednesday; the dollar amount was unknown.

The Guzman camp was not insulted by the two-year offer, understanding that general manager Jim Bowden took a tremendous hit for giving Guzman a four-year, $16 million deal after the 2004 season. Guzman has been hurt for most of those four years.

However, Guzman is having the best year of his career, hitting .312 with five home runs and 26 RBIs entering Wednesday's action. He is on pace to collect 200 hits and score 100 runs.

Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, a former teammate of Guzman's when both were with the Twins, is not surprised that Guzman is having a great year. Hunter said that all Guzman needed to do was stay healthy.

"You are seeing the real Guzie," Hunter said. "He is a tremendous athlete. His glove is sure over there. He can win a Gold Glove if he stays healthy and stays on the field. The guy is so fast, he beats out anything and he wants to play every day. He doesn't want a day off. I'm a big fan of Guzie's."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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