It is being reported by MLB Trade Rumors that the Seattle Mariners have inked former Tiger Carlos Guillen to a one year deal today. The Mariners got Guillen on the cheap for an incentive based deal at 1M dollars with the potential for more based on plate appearances. And that is where the trouble lies for Carlos Guillen, getting plate appearances.
Unfortunately for Carlos and Tigers fans, Guillen hasn’t been able to stay healthy for much of the past 3 years, sapping production from one of the best Tigers players at the time. There is almost not an injury that Guillen hasn’t suffered the past three years, and coupled with the aging process, it has almost made Guillen a DH only because of his athleticism being crippled.
Guillen returns to the Seattle Mariners, the team from which the Tigers acquired him before the 2004 season. It is kind of sad to see him go to an organization that has relatively little chance of competing for a playoff spot. Despite the last three years of lost production while under a big contract for the Tigers, Guillen was one of Detroit’s most reliable and best players for a span of 5 years. He was a 3 time All-Star for the Tigers, and even finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in 2006.
But as good as those five years were for the Tigers and it’s fans, the past 3 years were just as frustrating. The Tigers who have desperately needed production from either a LF or a 2B, got very little from Carlos and his balky legs from 2009 on. He is a lesson in how fast a player can deteriorate after the age of 30, and why teams should be cautious when handing out long term deals to players over 30.
Carlos fell so far in the minds of the Tigers organization, when Tigers DH Victor Martinez went down with an ACL injury this off-season, I haven’t heard one individual discuss the option of the Tigers bringing back Guillen in that role even on a one year deal.
Still, as a fan of the Tigers, I wish Carlos Guillen the best, and I hope he makes his playing time incentives. At the age of 36, I hope there is something left in the tank. After all, not many of us talk about it, but Carlos Guillen was just about as big a reason for the Tigers re-emergence in the mid 2000′s as anyone on those teams.
Good luck Carlos. Next time I am out, I will do a shot to your health.