Guillen to Seattle Not Completely Insane

This past Friday, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star mentioned that the Seattle Mariners were showing “signs of interest” in Royals designated hitter and “outfielder” Jose Guillen. I’m not exactly sure what that means, given that Dutton (a well-respected reporter) also mentions that there had been “no formal inquiry,” but let’s run with this a little bit. Does this trade even make sense for the Mariners and Royals?

At first blush, this trade rumor seems insane. Guillen is in the last season of an ill-advised three-year, 36 million dollar contract signed with the Royals in 2008. He is owed a prorated portion of $12 million this season. In 2008 he was almost replacement level, and in 2009 somehow managed to “top” that by being almost two wins below replacement in barely half a season. There’s been much talk about Guillen’s return to health after an injury-plagued 2009 (no word about why he was horrible in 2008, naturally) and he’s been hitting for considerable power as the Royals full-time DH this season, at .268/.321/.528 for a .365 wOBA. He’s been pretty lucky with a career-high 20% HR/FB rate, but ZiPS Rest-of-Season projections see a respectable .266/.322/.453 (.342 wOBA) in his immediate future.

But what would Seattle want with this guy? Their current DHs platoon features Ken GriffeyJr., projected by ZiPS ROS for a .304 wOBA, and Mike Sweeney, projected for a .312 wOBA the rest of the season. Even assming a hyper-efficent (and lucky) platoon would get them to .315, with Milton Bradley out indefinitely, a .342 wOBA-hitting Guillen would probably represent about a win improvement over the Leadership Platoon.

That much might be pretty obvious, but what about Guillen’s big salary? Seattle has apparently shown interest in players like Luke Scott, but was unwilling to take on the money, so how would they be able to afford Jose Guillen? This is why this trade rumor isn’t as insane as it seems: even the Royals have to know they would be lucky to get anything back for Guillen. Frankly, even being mentioned in a trade rumor is shocking, given his utter worthlessness in 2008 and 2009. Teams and scouts are rightly skeptical of his hot start. But this also means that unlike with, e.g., Luke Scott, even the Royals know that to get anything back they’ll have to eat almost all of Guillen’s salary. In a weird way, given the perception of his value, Guillen might actually be cheaper. The Mariners could get a cheap (for them) DH to solve that problem, and the Royals (who would be eating a salary they’d have to pay anyway) might get something a bit useful back, like a competent relief prospect. Even the Royals realize they aren’t going anywhere, and might finally be ready to let Kila Ka’aihue fly or flop in the majors, and this would open up a spot for Ka-aihue since they aren’t willing to risk the Wrath of Guillen by sitting him. The Mariners, who had designs on contention this season, could plug a DH hole they’ve been ‘unable’ to fill.

But while a Guillen-to-Seattle notion might not be completely crazy, it breaks down on that last point. The Mariners, with some justification, might have seen themselves with a good shot at winning the West prior to the season, even if they weren’t the favorites. However, they currently find themselves in last place, more than five games back of the first place Rangers. That’s not insurmountable, but given that Rangers are the better team, it’s not clear that even a nearly free Jose Guillen is really worth it, even if Erik Bedard stays healthy when/if he returns. With each loss, the marginal value of a win for Seattle drops, and trading anything of value for a one-win improvement makes less sense. So it’s not insane, but move along, very little to see here.



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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


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JayCee
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JayCee
6 years 16 days ago

I understand this is known by many of the smart people around here, but it would be helpful to add, for completeness, that Seattle is more a “big-market” team than “mid-market.” For years, the Mariners have been swimming in an enormous pile of cash, and this year they seem to appreciate the fact they need to spend somewhat freely in an effort to win their division. Texas SP depth is a bit deceiving- Harrison is out and Feldman is very shaky. If Bedard comes back, and if the Mariners find some hitting, they coudl win 8 or 9 in a row and be right back in this thing.

Kenny
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Kenny
6 years 16 days ago

A Bradley/Guillen DH platoon? I think I’d rather just watch Jersey Shore for my drama.

Steve
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Steve
6 years 16 days ago

Is Anger considered a PED?

BobLoblaw
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BobLoblaw
6 years 16 days ago

Is Guillen really greater than Michael Saunders?

geo
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geo
6 years 16 days ago

Much as I would love it if the Royals could pawn Guillen off on somebody, anybody, I don’t see how he puts Seattle over the top. They need way more than that. But hey, if Dayton Moore can get Jack Z. to believe…After all, they Royals did take Yuni off their hands; maybe the M’s think they owe them one.

Gary
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Gary
6 years 16 days ago

Any chance the Ms try to target Kila instead?
He’s a lot cheaper($$ wise) and probably a lot better.
Royals don’t seem to appreciate his OBP and they love asking, what have you done for me recently.

TheUnrepentantGunner
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TheUnrepentantGunner
6 years 16 days ago

That is just about the perfect title by the way. Insane? Partially. But not completely insane. As an aside, I wish Dave Cameron had taken my bet offer, namely that over the next 5 seasons, he can take his mariners, and he could pick for me any of the 3 teams he ranked lower than them of my choosing (the cardinals, phillies and braves).

Loser pays $5 a win or whatever to the Jaime Moyer Foundation.

Dave there’s still time if you dont mind starting in a small hole!

Gina
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Gina
6 years 16 days ago

I’m obviously not Dave Cameron but I have a slight gambling problem and I feel like it would be fascinating to see how that would work out with the Phillies. They seem like a semi decent collapse candidate after the 2011 season just because of age, financial constraints and a pretty drained farm system. Just because I’m curious what is the bet? total record over the 5 seasons, or would it be championships or something?

TheUnrepentantGunner
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TheUnrepentantGunner
6 years 16 days ago

i think the original proposal was # of wins +

10 points for a playoff berth
an extra 10 points for wining the division series
an extra 30 points for winning the LCS
and an extra 50 points for winning the WS

i’d take straight # of wins, if you counted postseason wins as well, and it would have been $5 a game (or you could do $1 a point), for the years 2010-2014. This was after of course 190 something comments after he (foolishly) put the mariners at #6

I offered him his choice of i think the phillies braves and cards.

I didn’t get a response, but would still take the bet if we started at april 1 (and why shouldnt i the mariners look bad), all proceeds to charity.

still, if he is serious about defending his ranking, he has to at least acknowledge the bet. The problem with his rankings remains the criteria he used. He sort of hinted that it was management talent, then current talent, then future talent, but 5 years is a pretty good proxy for all 3, and i think if he was serious he would either take the bet or offer a reasonable counter-proposal.

Gina
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Gina
6 years 16 days ago

Yeah I’m not sure I’d take it with the play-off stipulations just because I think the Phillies could build a lead too insurmountable in the next 2 years and the AL West is a lot closer, mostly because pretty much every team has a competent front office, where as the Phillies get the luxury of the Mets inability to get out of their own way and the always selling Marlins in their division.

Is there some place with a total list or are the individual posts spread out? I don’t think I ever saw the full list, and I actually wouldn’t have an issue with the Mariners over Philly but I’d have a hard time understanding justification of having them over the Cardinals or having them well ahead of the Braves if they were.

TheUnrepentantGunner
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TheUnrepentantGunner
6 years 16 days ago

well its interesting you say that. I think you might be right (possibly) on philly.

however when he trashed the jays, orioles, etc, he mentioned the difficulty of their division as a hindrance to their successs.

i would imagine if you ignore the post season the phillies are the candidate to bet against.

with that said the ratings were pretty open for criticism, partly because of the unconventional picks, and partly because Dave tends to take a very confident air when he writes. (not a terrible thing per se)

I recall the list looking like

1) NYY
2) Redsox
3) TB
4) Rangers
5) MN Twins
6) Mariners
7) Colorado
8) ATL
9) PHI
10) STL

colorado at 7 and the twins at 5 are avant-garde but defensible.

The 6 ranking for the mariners reeks of homerism. (and for what it’s worth I slightly like the Mariners because I have an acquaintance in their front office).

Hence my bet. At this point I can’t see Dave taking Atlanta, or spotting me a decent sized early hole (10 games over 5 years is a healthy amount).

Scott Batura
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Scott Batura
6 years 16 days ago

Maybe Seattle can give Sweeney back to KC for a final send off…. It’s not like they’re playing for anything this season.

dan woytek
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6 years 16 days ago

i like this, if only for the potential Free Kila factor

bowie
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bowie
6 years 16 days ago

Seattle ought to be scouting Lance Berkman right now. Berkman said he’s ready to be traded in about the most politic way he knew how.
Whoever Seattle’s 5th best prospect is would dramatically improve the state of Houston’s farm system right now.

BobLoblaw
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BobLoblaw
6 years 16 days ago

They should do that IN ADDITION to finding a LF/DH.

Kotchman’s D is going to help so much while hitting like a 2B.

Gina
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Gina
6 years 16 days ago

Isn’t Houston permanently in a non sell mode?

Zack
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Zack
6 years 16 days ago

Pretty much. They’ll trade for a reliever and BOR starter in July, make a push in the 2nd half, and end up with around 80 wins

Paul
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Paul
6 years 16 days ago

STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS. RETRACT IT FROM THE SITE. I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU JINX THE MOST IMPROBABLE DEAL EVER I WILL… I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT!

Just ask Royals fans what they think about this. Getting anything at all for Guillen in the same year that the White Sox actually gave up more than a bucket of balls for Mark Teahen would instantly make GMDM only the 28th worst GM in the game and remove another stain on a once great franchise. The best part is Jack Z is so conceited that he probably believes he can make this a good deal somehow, and Cameron’s Disciples will applaud until they see Jose’s 6.7 second time to first base for the first time.

I am dead serious. If Fangraphs jinxes this trade Royals fans should boycott you.

Hark
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Hark
6 years 16 days ago

For the first time? Um, dude, we had him before you did.

lailaihei
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lailaihei
6 years 16 days ago

Saunders in LF and Bradley as DH full time makes Guillen nothing more than the 5th OF or RH PH replacing Sweeney.
Really, no point at all.

Jack
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Jack
6 years 16 days ago

The logical thing to do is play Saunders and Bradley at LF and DH respectively full time. The solution to this problem in the Mariners lineup is very simple.

Jim
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Jim
6 years 15 days ago

Yeah, pretty much–except I wouldn’t play Saunders full time yet. A LF platoon of Saunders and Langerhans works fine for me. Saunders is the future there, though.

DFA Mike Sweeney and tell Ken Griffey, Jr. this is his final season in a Mariner uniform, but you’ll keep him on the team until season’s end for PR purposes and give him an occassional PH at-bat. :)

Try to acquire a veteran catcher who can take Rob Johnson’s spot on the 25-man, and option Johnson to AAA. Adam Moore could use the mentorship.

Then, trade Casey Kotchmann, Alex Liddi, and Josh Fields to Houston for Lance Berkman and you have a much improved lineup. ;)

COMMONSENSE
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COMMONSENSE
6 years 16 days ago

Jermaine Dye thinks you’re friggen crazy

Gomez
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6 years 16 days ago

Completely insane? No, but I would call it mostly insane. Having no-field DH’s on the roster is a big enough problem for this team without adding another one, even if you subtract one or both of the incumbents. Plus, while he hit okay during his year in Seattle, Guillen’s bat doesn’t fit the park well.

Chris88
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Chris88
6 years 16 days ago

Why wouldn’t they just call up Carp and get similar if not better production?

JH
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JH
6 years 16 days ago

Because Carp sucks and isn’t a major league quality hitter?

JH
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JH
6 years 16 days ago

Okay that’s a little harsh, but Carp isn’t the answer to any question worth asking for a contending team.

Not that Guillen is, either.

Gil
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Gil
6 years 16 days ago

I thought the same thing until I looked up his AAA numbers. Hard to call up a guy hitting .190/.286/.350 and hand the job to him.

Hank
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Hank
6 years 16 days ago

So any truth to the rumor that tomorrow’s article is “Ortiz to Seattle not completely insane” (rumor has it they have take the entire DH platoon)

To be followed by “Burrell to Seattle not completely insane”

And the 4 part series is set to conclude with “Nick Johnson to Seattle not completely insane” (rumor has it they have to take Randy Winn too)

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