The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Joel Guzman as an international free agent in 2001. Four years later, Baseball America ranked him as the fifth-best prospect in the game.
Guzman did reach the major leagues and play in eight games for the 2006 Dodgers, but the 21-year-old infielder’s inexperience meant Guzman had more value to Los Angeles as a trade chip than a fill-in. At the July 31st trade deadline, the Dodgers sent Guzman and another minor leaguer to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for veteran shortstop Julio Lugo.
Guzman appeared in 16 games for Tampa Bay in 2007, but although he didn’t know it at the time, his major league career would be over at the age of 22.
After spending the next three years in the minor leagues, Guzman went to Japan to play for the Chunichi Dragons in 2011. He spent the next two years playing in the Mexican League. After sitting out the 2014 baseball season, Guzman played for the Camden Riversharks in the independent Atlantic League last year. I would guess that’s when my friend Jeff got this baseball card signed.