Guillens Hole

With Jose Guillen opting out of his contract in the near future, in search of greener pastures, the Mariners find themselves with a hole in their offense. Make no mistake; Guillen leaves the Mariners with a significant hole.

 

The first notion that we should dismiss (one I have heard spouted by fans at various get to gathers) is that the Mariners found Jose Guillen on the scrap heap. This fallacy is followed by another which states that there are more Jose Guillens just waiting to be picked up for pennies on the dollar. If your definition of “scrap heap” includes players that are getting 5 million guaranteed (with roughly another 3 million in incentives and a mutual option for 9 million the next season) —- then Guillen was on the scrap heap. This isn’t to say that Jose Guillen was a unique opportunity, players like him come along all every so often. Let’s not kid ourselves; Jose Guillen bargain contract included the following baggage: 1) recovering from a serious injury and 2) had the reputation as a headcase. In spite of this the Mariners guaranteed him 6 million (the extra mill was for the buyout if needed), because he was in his prime and he’s an above average player. Imagine the contract Guillen would have gotten if his reputation had been better and he had been healthy. My guess would be it would have been a 4 for 40 type contract. I don’t think another Jose Guillen caliber player will be available for next season at pennies on the dollar.

 

His defense was poor but his offense was above average. I have much more faith in the accuracy in his offensive numbers than I do in the accuracy of his defensive numbers, but why don’t we assume Jose Guillen is an average RF all around. This means that the Mariners need to find an average RF to replace him. Considering that the Mariners have overachieved in terms of Pythag last year, the Mariners have the doubly (is that even a word?) difficult task of improving on this team.

 

Maybe Adam Jones or Wlad Balentein go bananas next season and fill the void nicely. I think that this is an optimistic projection. Both of those young men would almost certainly exceed Guillen in terms of bang for the buck, but the Mariners primary concern right now should be getting more production (regardless of the cost). The short story on Jones and Balentein is that both strike out a ton and I don’t feel comfortable projecting either of them to hit enough to become an average RF. Also Jones could be headed to LF which means that the M’s still need to find someone to play RF next year. Given the other areas of weakness on this team, I would rather the Mariners have this situation wrapped up. Instead the Mariners have another player to replace, and this time he isn’t terrible.

 

Remember in order to win the division next year, the Mariners would likely need to dramatically improve.

 

The ray of sunshine is that the Mariners have a few holes to fill this offseason, and many of them will be easier to fill than RF. The two rotation slots, 1B, LF, 2B or DH slots are all candidates to be upgraded. If Bavasi does it right, he can improve this team.

 

Feel free to chime in with any names that could fill the void left by Guillen.

-Brent

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9 Responses to Guillens Hole

  1. PositivePaul says:

    Here’s my list:

    I’d rather have any of these guys on a 1+ deal (1 year w/an option) than Guillen for 3+ years. There’s some guys who can still play defense, and have an average stick if you want that, or guys that may be as good as Guillen was defensively (average to below-average) and carry above-average sticks.

    Name 2007 OPS+
    ———————————————————————-
    Kenny Lofton 105
    Bobby Abreu 114
    Matt Stairs 138
    Mike Cameron 103
    Luis Gonzalez 101
    Shannon Stewart 101
    Brad Wilkerson 104
    Shawn Green 104
    Reggie Sanders 135

    Of this list, Reggie Sanders would be my top choice, followed by Matt Stairs, Mike Cameron, and then Kenny Lofton (although I probably am overrating offense just a tad in this order). I’m not sure if Abreu will be available, but he’d be up there, too — and I’d give him 3 years before I gave Guillen 3 years.

    This is ignoring the Fukudome hype, too. He may or may not be a good fit here, but he does have a lefty stick with some power and he reportedly plays a very solid defense. Not a proven veteran commodity, of course, but the M’s probably would ignore that in his case, if they think highly enough of him.

    So, yeah, there are options. In looking at the 2008 FAs, too, there’s Crawford, Vlad (not coming here), Baldelli, Griffey (as a DH) that all may be possibilities (team options on everyone other than Vlad).

  2. brentschwartz says:

    If you are going to overrate a quality for players, it should be offense. I feel much better about MLB teams being able to quantify offense than I am about their ability to quantify defense.

    I wonder if Cameron would be willing to sign here for one or two years… That would give the Mariners 3 CF’s to play the outfield again.

    The other name I am wondering about is Jacque Jones. The Cubs are probably willing to give Jones away for a bag of peanuts (Feierabend?) and he could be a decent fit in Safeco. Jones could be a decent fallback plan in nothing else can be worked out.

  3. PositivePaul says:

    Yeah, of course. It’s MUCH easier to rate the value of a player’s bat than his glove. And, there are always guys on the trade market that you could grab, too, that might help. I can see Jones as one of those guys. Geoff Jenkins (should his option be picked up by Milwaukee) may be another, although his defense is probably suspect at this point.

    I’m pretty sure Cameron will be pursued by GMs who are looking for a legit CF, and will be given a multi-year deal by one of those teams. I’m not convinced his defense is still excellent in CF, but he’s definitely not a liability in the field. Were he to come back to the Mariners, however, they’d probably want him in CF and would move Ichiro back to RF to accommodate this. That’s probably the wrong decision. I’d stick Cameron in RF and Jones in LF at least at Safeco. It may be odd for Ichiro and Cameron, though, since there’s probably still some memory of how they played together before…

    Actually, Texas makes a lot of sense for Cameron, since his bat is still pretty solid, and his power could be exploited in Arlington. As much as he likes Seattle, and Seattle fans like him, I doubt he’ll return. He’ll get a 2-3 year deal from another team. Maybe Atlanta, too, as they’ll be looking for a CF replacement for Andruw Jones.

  4. brentschwartz says:

    If I was going to pick a hitter out of the group I would snag Brad Wilkerson and Lew Ford.

    Wilkerson could be had for cheap as he’s battled injuries for the last two years and if he’s healthy he can definately hit. Plus he takes pitches and draws walks, two things the Mariners need hitters to do. He would actually be an upgrade over Guillen in this department.
    Lew Ford provides a Jason Ellison like defensive replacement who gives the club some “veteran who’s been through the wars experience” and he’s not a disaster with the bat (unlike Jason Ellison).

  5. Teej says:

    Hey, guys. Just peeking over from LL. I’d rather e-mail one of you individually instead of leaving a prickish comment, but there are no e-mail addresses here. So . . .

    In the blog title’s subhead, it should be its, not it’s.

    /word nerd

    Good luck with this. I put it in my bookmarks.

  6. brandonwarne52 says:

    I like the Jacque Jones idea. In fact, I’d like to see him back in Twinstripes for pennies on the dollar to man CF next year.

  7. brentschwartz says:

    I’m not sure if this comes across in the original post but my frustration about having to replace Jose Guillen this offseason isn’t that he was a great player, he’s not. He’s in the ballpark of average. But Guillen wasn’t the problem last season and the Mariners have to get a lot better if they are going to compete next year. I’d rather have Guillen (next year anyway) and not worry about RF. Then I’d try to find average players to upgrade the rest of the roster.

  8. brentschwartz says:

    We’ll Guillen looks to be heading to Kansas City and the Mariners are not getting a draft pick because we didn’t offer him arby. Good times? Not so much. Things are not looking up right now.

  9. Ken says:

    Too bad, he was a type B guy. They better have something good planned, I’m going to be annoyed if our opening day RF is worse than Guillen.

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