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Guest Post: How About That Jose Guillen Fellow?

August 7, 2010

Please welcome our friend Ben Yarrington, whose article we will be sharing with you today.

Would Jose Guillen help the Giants in 2010?

As I’m sure most people know, the Giants have been interested in Jose Guillen for quite some time now. The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline passed and the Giants did not acquire the “big bat” that Brian Sabean speaks so frequently of, though. On August 5th, Guillen was designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals. That very same day, Giants’ beat writer Andrew Baggarly reported that the Giants are “discussing” Guillen.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh no…”
But let’s take a step back, calm down, and weigh the pros and cons here. The Giants’ right fielders in 2010 have posted a slash line of .242/.315/.407 with a wOBA of .309. All of which put them in the bottom 5 in MLB in each category. The sad truth is that those numbers don’t provide an accurate picture of just how poor our production from right field has been this year. Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff, who are both performing well above average, have played a total of 66 games in right this year. The fact that the position is still posting that line even though having two-thirds of the season played by above average performers shows that the situation in right field is certainly worse than it appears.

In comes Jose Guillen. In 2010, Guillen has posted a slash line of .255/.314/.426. Now, those numbers don’t exactly scream “pick me”, but again, there is more to these stats than meets the eye. Post All-Star break, Guillen has posted a line of .151/.198/.260. Slumps happen, and Guillen seemed to have hit one. The good news is that Guillen is projected to do better for the remainder of the year. His rZiPS line has him at .261/.321/.438 with a wOBA of .335. Again, those numbers aren’t “wow” material, but they have to be looked at in perspective. Guillen will not only provide stability in the revolving door of Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres and Nate Schierholtz, but provides a clear offensive improvement over the horrid performance we’ve seen thus far from right field.

However, baseball is not an offense only game. AT&T Park has a rather infamously large right field, including the ever expansive “Triples Alley”. The Giants have been blessed to have Torres and Schierholtz, two extremely good defenders, patrolling right for as much of the season as they have. Their range is hard to match and Schierholtz’s cannon is certainly one of a kind. In recent years, Guillen has been known to be a less than stellar defender, posting UZR’s of -17, -5.3 and -5.9 in the past three years in right field. However, Guillen has stepped up his defense this year, posting a +2.6 UZR so far in right field for the Royals. Not to mention Guillen’s defense certainly has the “Gamer” aspect to it that we know Sabean loves, and, believe it or not, Guillen has an arm comparable to Schierholtz. Granted this is an incredibly small sample size, as he’s only played 169 defensive innings, the argument could be made that with only 52 games left in the season for the Giants, a bit of below average defense might be a necessary sacrifice. The Giants are a top five fielding team in virtually every category, so even with Guillen’s less than stellar defense; they would still be a well above average defensive team.

All in all, Guillen is not the savior by any means, but he is an upgrade over the performance we’ve seen so far. Not to mention Guillen, who’s known to be a bit of a live wire, might blend perfectly with the intense passions of Huff, Torres and Lincecum, among others.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 3:53 PM

    Interesting article, Ben! But I have a hard believing that Guillen’s defense has magically improved. I fear he will regress like mad playing RF in Willie Mays Park. I also find it a little simplistic to say we can afford to sacrifice D for a bat. If you can quantify that and show me that the marginal increase in offense exceeds the marginal loss in defense, then OK. Otherwise, I prefer to keep the team we currently have.

  2. Liem permalink
    August 11, 2010 11:05 PM

    Thank you for writing on this. I’m shocked that mainstream news outlets haven’t generated more buzz on this topic. I agree that Jose Guillen is a low risk improvement whom the Giants should consider if the price is right. Acquiring Guillen does present some complications for managing the roster, though. Bringing Guillen in to play right field would certainly push Rowand out the starting line-up completely, however, as Guillen would presumably start against left-handed pitchers and Schierholtz against righties (or Bochy could opt to use the “Water-buffalo” outfield with Ishikawa at first). As for Guillen’s defense, I’m surprised that you described Guillen’s arm as comparable to Schierholtz’s. Although I agree that Schierholtz’s arm is outstanding, I remember Guillen’s arm being one the best in the game when he first came up in the late 90’s. I have to admit, however, that I haven’t watched many of Guillen’s games later on in his career, though I find it hard to imagine he’s lost a whole lot from this spectacular display in 1997:

  3. August 13, 2010 5:06 PM

    Looks like you guys got your wish. Cash and a PTBNL. I’m actually okay with that — can’t hurt to have some depth down the stretch.

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