Among Wednesday’s moves, the Seattle Mariners announced the signing of Carlos Guillen to a minor league contract. After a very successful career with the Tigers, Guillen returns to the team he broke into the majors with all the way back in 1998.
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t appear Guillen has anything left in the tank.
Although Guillen made an impact as an above-average shortstop for the Mariners between 2002 and 2004, his career didn’t take off until he joined the Tigers. He notched two 5+ WAR seasons in Detroit, including the 2006 AL Pennant campaign in which he recorded a fantastic .320/.400/.519 line in 145 games as the Tigers’ shortstop, rewarded with a 10th-place finish in the MVP voting for his efforts. Although the bat remained — Guillen posted wRC+ marks above 110 in 2007 and 2008 — the glove didn’t, as he was eventually pushed off shortstop, spending much of 2008 as a third baseman and eventually shifting to the outfield.
The bat has departed Guillen in the past two seasons as well, as the 36-year-old posted his first wRC+ marks below 100 since 2002 in three injury-riddled seasons from 2009-2011. With just a .253/.323/.411 line in 700 plate appearances — most of which came before the stark offensive drop of 2011 — Guillen doesn’t appear to have the hitting ability necessary to compensate for his defensive deficiencies.
Perhaps if Guillen had a healthy, rehabilitative offseason, the Mariners could find a player worthy of a bench spot in Guillen’s non-roster invitation to training camp, capable of backing up Kyle Seager at third base and Mike Carp in left field. But more likely, Guillen’s body will continue to betray him. Even if he does wind up on the Mariners’ 25-man roster come April, it will likely be in a diminished role, and one only available due to the lack of acceptable offensive options in Seattle.
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