Friday, August 6, 2010

Where Are They Now?: José Guillen (Update)

When the Nationals picked up José Guillen in 2005 from the Anaheim Angels, he was a man with something to prove. He held a vendetta toward the Angels, and most notably manager Mike Scioscia. He showed instances of violent behavior. He was charged with being lazy by fans. He had an abhorrent attitude. He has played for 9 teams over his 13 year MLB career.

But when Guillen came to DC, he was the Nationals' angry, violent, lazy right fielder. And Nats fans were mostly proud of their acquisition in Year 1. Guillen had a fire about him for the Nationals first season. He ended up hitting .283 with 24 home runs in '05. He was the offensive rock of the team.

When people think of Guillen in DC, they mostly associate him with one fateful moment. When the Nats went to Anaheim to play his old team and his old manager in 2005, Guillen clued in Nats then-Manager Frank Robinson that Angels' pitcher Brendan Donnelly always had pine tar on his glove, which of course is an illegal substance. Robinson called for an investigation of Donnelly's glove, and Donnelly was tossed and suspended. It resulted in a bases clearing incident.

In 2006, Guillen tore a ligament in his elbow and had season-ending surgery. He played in just 69 games that year. Finally in 2007, the Guillen went to the Mariners. During that season, he was accused of using performance enhancing drugs in 2003. The Nationals were free of his presence.

He went on to spend 2008-2010 in Kansas City. Until August 5th, 2010, that is. That's when the Royals designated Guillen for assignment. Meaning they released him, or they can trade him within 10 days, but that's not going to happen. Guillen was at the end of his 3-year, $36 million overpayment for his services with KC, and with the Royals eternally in a rebuilding year, it was time to cut the clubhouse cancer.

So over his 13 year career, Guillen has been kicked off of yet another baseball team. He's 34 years old, and you have to wonder if his career is just about washed up. But as long as José Guillen is even marginally healthy, he'll try to be on a baseball team to stir up controversy and make fans despise him. It is what he's done so well, for so long, after all.

UPDATE (4:58 pm): Former Nats GM Jim Bowden is reporting on Twitter that the Giants are working on a possible trade deal with the Royals that would have KC send Guillen to SF, eating nearly all of Guillen's contract. Which if they're going to release him, they'll owe him that money anyway. Maybe not the worst deal for KC.


  1. Under Frank Robinson, I thought Guillen did a great job in 2005 of distancing himself on the field and around the fans of any of his past transgressions.

    He was known as the guy who would go to Walter Reed Army Hospital and pull cash out of his pocket and start handing it out.

    When wounded vets came to RFK, I would see Guillen handing out his jerseys.

    Not sure what has happened to him in KC and what they would consider a clubhouse problem but I personally want to thank Jose' for his kindness to the fans here and the wounded vets.

  2. Andrew, his interactions with Scioscia were certainly not him "distancing himself on the field." He was in his face during the game, on the field.

    That said, I fully acknowledge that Guillen did the right thing by reaching out to veterans.

    To compare, John Lannan reached out to children with terminal cancer this season. It was a wonderful thing and the right thing for Lannan to do. I have a lot of respect for him for doing it. That doesn't make my post on Lannan saying he's lost his ability to pitch any less accurate.

    I am reporting on the Nationals baseball organization and former players. I spend most of my time talking about player's ability and their affect on the team when it comes to ability to play the game of baseball.

    Guillen felt entitled, and was lazy and hurt for much of his time with the Nationals. That's what I wrote, with some flourish of course.

    Thanks very much for taking the time to read my post, though. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, and I hope you'll continue to read even though you didn't necessarily agree with my take. All the best.