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Free Agent Profile: Jose Guillen

Jose Guillen

After a solid 2005 campaign, the Washington Nationals had high expectations for outfielder Jose Guillen.  He didn’t come close to fulfilling any of them.  Guillen’s 2006 season was ravaged by injuries and horrible slumps at the plate, and neither of those helps his case as a free agent.  What might help Guillen is his terrific numbers in 2003-2005, but after a disgusting 2006, it’s hard to say if anyone will be excited about adding him. 

Here’s a look at just how bad Guillen’s season was (69 games)…

  • Batting Average: .216 — bad…
  • On-Base Percentage: .276 — …worse
  • Slugging Percentage: .398
  • OPS: .674
  • Doubles: 15 — half of his hits went for extra-bases
  • Triples: 1
  • Homeruns: 9
  • RBI: 40
  • Runs: 28
  • Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing: 1/0
  • Walks: 15
  • Strikeouts: 48 — much too “free-swinging”

There’s nothing impressive about those numbers and plenty to be unimpressed and disappointed with.  Maybe his situational stats are better…

  • Bases Empty: .230/.282/.418
  • Runners On: .202/.270/.378
  • RISP: .216/.276/.365
  • RISP w/2 outs: .176/.222/.382
  • Bases Loaded: .200/.286/.400

They didn’t.  If anything, those situational numbers made Guillen look worse. Splits, anyone?

  • Vs. Lefties: .200/.269/.417
  • Vs. Righties: .221/.279/.392
  • Home (RFK Stadium): .257/.328/.468 — those are semi-respectable
  • Away: .182/.231/.341 — “coach, can I skip the next roadtrip?”
  • Day Games: .228/.265/.443
  • Night Games: .210/.281/.377

Before you completely dismiss Jose Guillen as a terrible hitter and a “has-been”, let me defend him a little.  Take a look at Guillen’s numbers from 2003-2005…

2003 w/Oakland: .265/.311/.459 with 8HR and 23RBI

2003 w/Cincy: .337/.385/.629 with 23HR and 63RBI

2004 w/Anaheim: .294/.352/.427 with 27HR and 104RBI

2005 w/DC: .283/.338/.479 with 24HR and 76RBI

Those incredible numbers with Cincinnati were almost certainly a fluke, but even as recently as 2005, Jose Guillen was swinging for the fences.  Go back to 2004, and you see a great hitter.  So, aside from the injuries, what is Jose Guillen doing wrong? 

The explanation for Guillen’s rapid decline is two-fold. 

  1. There’s one thing that Guillen must improve to be successful at the plate again.  He is extremely “free-swinging”, often going after pitches that are well out of the strike zone and giving pitchers the advantage when he’s at the plate.  Even when Guillen was doing well, he was striking-out much too often; Guillen was K’d 102 times (or once per 5.5 at-bats) in 2005.  There’s no way a hitter can do well if he’s striking-out that often, which means that Guillen will need to decrease his K-rate to recover his offensive prowess. 
  2. The second issue Guillen has had these past few seasons is his temper.  Always an emotional person and a guy with an extremely short-fuse, Guillen has turned on everyone from umpires to opposing managers over the past 2 years.  If a player is filled with anger and negativity, he’s not going to be able to focus on baseball, and therefore he’ll have limited (if any) success.  Whichever team signs Guillen should suggest he take some anger management or meditation classes because his emotions are getting the better of him and are sometimes detrimental even to his teammates. 

With those two things, plus the elbow injury holding Guillen back, interest in him this offseason will be limited.  The only teams that will likely place calls to Guillen’s agent are either those in dire need of an outfielder, or teams with nothing to lose in taking a chance on a slumping veteran like Jose Guillen.  The team that signs him could get the steal of the offseason, but will more likely get a 4th outfielder past the peak of his career.

Which team will take a chance on Jose Guillen?

Everything I’ve mentioned in mind, I think there’s one team that would be a perfect fit for Jose Guillen.  That team is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who could use an outfielder and need to take chances if they’re going to slowly get back into contention.  If Guillen can resurrect what used to look like a fine career, the Pirates might get the steal of the offseason if they snag Guillen off the market. 

My prediction:  Guillen to the Bucs — 2yrs 8Million 

Stats prediction:  Somewhere in-between his prior success and his 2006 failure.  .270/.330/.440 with 15HR and 60RBI sounds about right

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Joe Borowski

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Today’s Moves and Rumors…

The Astros did plenty of shopping on Black Friday, signing outfielder Carlos Lee to a 6year 100Million deal, then adding veteran RHP Woody Williams with a 2yr deal worth 12.5Million.

The Blue Jays are rumored to be close to a deal with catcher Rod Barajas which makes it unlikely that the Jays will resign both Bengie Molina and Gregg Zaun, who shared the backstopping job last season.  The rumored deal is a 2year pact worth 5.75Million. 

________________________________________________________________

Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question was…

Ted Lilly has played for 4 teams in his MLB career; which of the following is not one of them?

  • New York Yankees
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Montreal Expos
  • Los Angeles Dodgers

The correct answer…

Lilly has never played for the LA Dodgers

Today’s question is…

During a game against the Mets in 2006, Jose Guillen was HBP’d twice by which New York starting pitcher, nearly leading to a brawl?

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