May 14, 2003

Fun with Jose

I was checking out, as I do everyday, and I came across the following headline:

Crowded Cincinnati outfield has Guillen talking trade

Before I even clicked on the link to read the article, I had a feeling I'd be talking about it here. Then I opened it up and it didn't let me down...

"ST. LOUIS -- Jose Guillen, the odd man out in the Cincinnati Reds' outfield on Wednesday, wants to be traded."

Keep in mind, this is the same Jose Guillen that has over 2,300 career plate appearances spanning 7 seasons in the major leagues, and has a career hitting line of .263/.307/.408.

"'In my mind and in my body I can be an everyday player for a long time, and I know I'm not going to be an everyday player here,' Guillen said. 'So hopefully they'll trade me and let me go somewhere else where I can play every day.'"

Not only does Jose feel he is an everyday player in his mind, he also feels it in his body. Unfortunately, it is the same body that has produced a career OPS of .715, so maybe he shouldn't be so quick to trust what it tells him.

The one thing he is right about is that, as long as Ken Griffey Jr. is healthy (and Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns too), he won't be playing everyday for the Reds. Those are just the facts when two of the guys you are going up against for playing time are among the best young hitters in all of baseball and the third guy has 469 career homers and a massive long-term contract. Of course, the fact that Griffey hasn't been healthy since before I had my driver's license is a whole 'nother issue.

As for the Reds trading Guillen so he can "go somewhere else where [he] can play every day" - I am pretty sure that place doesn't exist, at least not on the planet he and I both live on.

The last time Jose Guillen was an everyday player was 1997 and 1998, his first two seasons as a major leaguer. Back then, he was with the Pirates and he still had that shiny "top prospect" label. He hit .267/.300/.412 as a rookie, which, along with the fact that he jumped all the way from Single-A to the majors, was enough to give people hope that he'd become a valuable player.

Then, in 1998, he did something that is extremely hard for a 22 year old player to do - he had the exact same season that he had as a rookie:

Year     AVG     OBP     SLG

1997 .267 .300 .412
1998 .267 .298 .414

That pretty much ended his career as an everyday player. He still had a little of that prospect-shine left on him and everyone loved his cannon arm in right field, but when you hit in the 260s with very little power and absolutely no sign of plate discipline, you don't make a whole lot of believers. And when you do it two seasons in a row, showing absolutely no improvement from your rookie season...well, you get traded to the Devil Rays.

After 40 games with the Pirates in 1999, they finally got sick of him and sent him down to Triple-A. It probably would have been a whole lot better for all involved if he had made a stop in Triple-A a few years earlier but, at this point, it was too late for that.

After a little time in Triple-A, the Pirates shipped him off to Tampa Bay (there is some joke here about Triple-A and the D-Rays being one and the same, but I can't quite find it).

Guillen appeared in another 47 games for Tampa, finishing the 1999 season with a combined 288 at bats and a .253/.315/.340 performance.

The D-Rays liked him so much that they kept him for the next season and even gave him frequent playing time. Guillen got 316 at bats and hit .253/.320/.430 - otherwise known as the best season of his career.

Since then however, Guillen has bounced around quite a bit. Cincinnati is his 4th major league organization in less than 3 years and he has spent time with 3 different Triple-A clubs in that span.

Moving on to more fun quotes...

"A disgruntled Guillen met with manager Bob Boone before the Reds played the St. Louis Cardinals."

Why exactly is he disgruntled? Did he not realize that Ken Griffey Jr. was still alive and would eventually be healthy enough to attempt to return to playing? Living in Cincinnati, I bet Guillen has had multiple chances to read updates on Griffey's injury and I'd even bet it has been discussed by other Cincinnati players around him. But whaddya know, Jose woke up yesterday and suddenly realized Ken Griffey Jr. was gonna be taking his job back. It's funny what one good month after 6 or 7 bad years can do to make a guy feel entitled to a job.

"Guillen, 26, is with his fifth team in seven seasons. The Reds signed him to a minor league contract last August after he had been released by the Rockies. Guillen can be a free agent after this season. If he's not traded, he indicated he would leave the Reds."

There is a gap between the reality of the first three sentences and the "reality" of the last sentence. A guy that was released by a team and signed to a minor league contract by another team is now threatening to leave as a free agent after the season? Oh no!

"'I'm just looking for a good spot where I can play, just move on and down the road, just stay on one team and be an everyday player for years to come,' Guillen said."

That sounds like a very good goal, Jose. Similarly, I am "just" looking to get hired by ESPN or Sports Illustrated, so that I can "just" begin my career as a well-paid columnist for years to come.

"It's kind of driving me crazy."

Don't worry Jose, we can all see that very clearly.

In other, non-Jose Guillen news...

While today's entry is a relatively short one, I seem to have a reputation for occasionally producing rather large blog entries. I think maybe the 8,000 or so words I wrote about Rafael Palmeiro in the last 2 days have something do with it...

Anyway, Christian Ruzich over at "The Cub Reporter" recently published an email "conversation" he had with Will Carroll, of Baseball Prospectus fame. They chatted about pitch-counts, the Chicago Cubs and a bunch of other good stuff, and it was a long entry. What did Christian refer to his lengthy blog entry as?

A "Gleeman-length installment" of course!

I don't know why, but I am strangely proud of this. I am well aware that I am very long-winded and tend to produce a freakish amount of material on this site, so I figure I might as well embrace my freakiness.

From now on, anytime you are at a party and someone you are talking to drones on and on telling you a story, feel free to refer to it as a "Gleeman-length story." Who knows, maybe someday it can even work its way into the lexicon, sort of like "Babe Ruth-type power" or "Rickey Henderson-esque speed."

What's that you say? I'm droning on and on and not making any sense (again)? Okay fine, see you tomorrow!

Today's picks:

Houston (Oswalt) -150 over Pittsburgh (Benson)

Milwaukee (Sheets) +180 over Chicago (Wood)

Cincinnati (Riedling) +150 over St. Louis (Stephenson)

Philadelphia (Wolf) -155 over Arizona (Dessens)

Montreal (Vazquez) -110 over Colorado (Jennings)

Texas (Benes) +320 over Boston (Martinez)

Total to date: + $2,025

W/L record: 84-75 (Yesterday was a great day for making picks. I went 3-1 for +385, including a +175 and a +260! I am now up over $2,000 in hypothetical winnings this year! I hope some of you have been picking along with me...)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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