Carlos Guillen has announced his retirement. It doesn’t come as a total shock. The 36 year old has missed nearly two full seasons of the past three, and hasn’t been nearly as productive as his prime years during the time he has been healthy.
Guillen represents one of the best, and arguably the worst trade in Mariner history. He came to Seattle as part of the trade that sent Randy Johnson to Houston. That trade also brought Freddy Garcia to the Mariners, who would pitch as the team’s ace for much of his time in Seattle. Guillen was a very good shortstop in his time with Seattle, but probably went under-appreciated because he was given the unenviable task of replacing the best player in baseball at the time: Alex Rodriguez.
Then in classic Bill Bavasi fashion, as one of his early moves Bavasi sent Guillen to Detroit for Ramon Santiago, who was a glove-only shortstop and a bad prospect. It wasn’t that the trade turned out badly that was frustrating, but rather the philosophy behind it. Bavasi had gone all “Chief Whisperer” on Freddy Garcia, who’d been rumored to have a partying habit was perceived to be fueled, in some way, by Carlos Guillen’s presence in the clubhouse. Guillen would go on to make three of the next five All Star teams, and be worth 19.6 WAR over the same period. Santiago would end up back in Detroit.
The chances of Guillen becoming a huge contributor this season were always slim. And the opportunity this affords Kyle Seager to flex his versatility muscles may benefit the team more in the long run, but having Guillen back, old and decrepit, under a finally-good general manager in Jack Zduriencik seemed to really put a nice bow on the trade, and some punctuation at the end of the Bill Bavasi sentence. By no means is Guillen a hall of famer, but he OPS’d nearly .800 and played more than five full seasons at shortstop. That’s pretty good. A hell of a lot better than what Ramon Santiago has done in his shitty career.
You had a hell of a career Carlos, wish we could have seen more of it.