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Guillen: Good as Gone

Due to popular demand and an acute need to adjust my perceptions to reality, I embark on a complete 180 from the tenor of the previous post. According to ESPN.com, Jose Guillen is on the verge of signing a one-year, $5 million (with incentive bonuses and a 2008 option) contract with the Seattle Mariners. The team's Pravda bureau has already posted the preparatory article. Some of us will remember the good times (first half of 2005), some of us will remember the bad times (everything else), but all of us will remember when Guillen called Mike Scioscia a piece of garbage.

Instant Reaction

Lookout Landing:

Now (presumably) healthy again, Guillen should get back to his normal player profile - aggressive power hitter who rarely walks. He's an asset when he hits .280 and a problem when he hits .260, but prior to 2006 he'd put up three consecutive solid seasons, so the track record's there. And succeeding in Washington bodes well for his ability to play in pitcher's parks.

The problem is that Safeco is murder on right-handed power hitters, and adding Guillen to a lineup that already features Kenji Johjima, Jose Lopez and Adrian Beltre could leave the Mariners with at least four big problem spots in home games. However, Guillen seems to be something of a spray hitter, so he may be able to manage. A .750 OPS at home and an .810 OPS on the road would be fine with me, given the low cost.

. . . As long as he's both used and treated properly, Jose Guillen is a good short-term acquisition, a guy who can take Eduardo Perez's at bats and spell Ibanez and Snelling in the outfield.

U.S.S. Mariner:

So, what does Guillen bring to the M's? An interesting package. He's one of the most tools-laden outfielders in the game when healthy, mixing power, speed, and a rocket arm. However, he's got a lot of flaws; his plate discipline is horrible, he's feuded with almost every manager he's had, and he's coming off Tommy John surgery that ended a 2006 season that was shaping up to be a massive disappointment anyways.

. . . It's a medium risk, medium reward move, but I certainly prefer Jose Guillen for one year over any of the potential left-handed outfielders that have been discussed.

At any rate, Guillen's an interesting guy. He plays very hard, which is good. He won't fess up to injury until he's literally unable to play, which is bad. He's very intense, which is good. He's tends to act a tad insane, which is bad. He's a nice enough supplementary power hitter, which is good. He thinks he's a star, which is bad. He's not afraid to speak up, which is good. He is entirely capable of acting like a complete jerk, which is bad. He can inject a new team with a certain something, which is good. He lands with a new team rather regularly because he has a tendency to wear out his welcome, which is bad.

Placed in the right spot, Guillen can still be an asset. But will he allow himself to remain content in that spot? Not that it matters---I fully expect him to land with the Rangers in 2009, completing the AL West round-robin.