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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 5, 2008 7:58 AM

Is Guillen M's man?

Posted by Geoff Baker

Plenty of you have written in since last week's latest episode involving Jose Guillen in Kansas City. Guillen has strongly denied an ESPN Deportes story that he is not on speaking terms with Royals manager Trey Hillman and wants out of KC. Some of you have mentioned a possible match for the Mariners, in which they could jettison the remaining salary of Carlos Silva in exchange for the final two years, $24 million owed Guillen.

The Mariners need some extra outfield power and Guillen's 16 homers, 73 RBI look -- on the surface at least -- to be a possible solution. His clubhouse presence was appreciated in Seattle. From what we saw in KC the brief time I was there last month, the young Royals were playing hard as well. Even if Guillen wasn't getting along with Hillman, that's not neccesarily a bad influence on the team itself. Only if they let it become one. Former Royals pitcher and current broadcaster Paul Splittorff agrees. From what we've seen, Guillen has driven in runs. More runs than any current Mariners player until Raul Ibanez went nuts in last night's seventh inning. He is producing.

But how well?

As of yesterday, Guillen's on-base percentage was at .295. That's too low. Too much like a whole lot of other Mariners have put up this season. His on-base-plus slugging percentage of .757 is also rather ordinary for a right fielder. To me, it's a lot more indicative of what might lie ahead than his 73 RBI. So, that gives me great hesitation. As good as Guillen was last season, and as strong a clubhouse presence as he was, his numbers matter as well.

The last thing this team needs is another Carl Everett. Guilen isn't quite where Everett was with the M's in 2006. But his numbers have fallen. Outside of his RBI total, which is dependant more on other runners ahead of him getting on-base than an OPS total.

That's my take. What's yours? For now, unless a further look at the numbers showed something more indicative of why his OPS is down 60 points from last year, I'd pass. You could get close to that production from Wladimir Balentien, I'd suspect, once he stops striking out every second at-bat.

On other fronts, let's see what happens with Brandon Morrow today. That start by Miguel Batista last night was discouraging to say the least. The M's could use another starting arm up in Seattle. Ryan Rowland-Smith looks to be about ready. Moving Morrow now so he can transform to a starting role and calling up Rowland-Smith to take his roster spot could be in the cards. This rotation needs more innings.


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