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The Good And Bad Of Jose Guillen

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First, the good:

I don't got truly no respect for [Scioscia] anymore because I'm still hurt from what happened last year . . . Mike Scioscia, to me, is like a piece of garbage . . . He can go to hell . . . I can never get over about what happened last year. It's something I'm never going to forget. Any time I play that team, Mike Scioscia's managing, it's always going to be personal to me.

Jeremy Reed's always treated the Angels like a group of 25 guys who all slept with his underachieving left-handed girlfriend, but he's not going to be around much longer, so I'm glad Bavasi was able to add someone who hates them even more. It's about time we start getting some players who're as into this rivalry as I am. Jose Guillen may be a bit of an asshole with lousy English (the "College: None" in his profile shouldn't come as much of a surprise), but as long as he's focusing all that anger on the opposition 19 times a year, it'll be hard for me to complain.

The best part is that, back in 2005 when Scioscia and Frank Robinson exchanged antiquated verbal thrashings after Brendan Donnelly was found to be cheating, Guillen was the guy who told Robinson to have the umpire look at Donnelly's glove. I can get on board with that sort of thing. Guillen played for Anaheim in 2004 and was presumably made well aware of the fact that Donnelly has to break the rules to succeed, so the minute Donnelly took the hill the next year Guillen used that insight to his team's advantage, sending Mike Scioscia into a tizzy. Granted, Scioscia whines if his toast is too dark, but that's still one of my favorite sights to behold in all of baseball, right up there with a JJ Putz strikeout and Julio Mateo collapsing in the bullpen. Jose Guillen's going to get up for these games against the Angels, and damned if that won't light a fire under at least a handful of the other guys.

Now the bad:

An excited-sounding Jose Guillen was celebrating with friends and family in the Dominican Republic on Saturday night after reaching a one-year deal to become the new Mariners' right fielder...Guillen said the idea is for him to become the team's full-time right fielder, with Ichiro shifting to center..."It's to play in right field," he said. "All of the discussions we had were about me being in right field."

I imagine a party with Jose Guillen involves Tecate by the gallon, militant graffiti, and at least one guy getting stabbed. Anyway, given that right field can only accomodate one player at a time, Guillen being there means that Chris Snelling isn't. Guillen's a good defensive outfielder (with an awesome arm if it's healthy) and he brings a right-handed bat to the table, but Snelling's the most patient hitter on the team, and reducing his role costs the team runs. You can't really slide him to DH either, not as long as Broussard's hanging around, so something has to give, and I don't want it to be Snelling's playing time.

There are ways to make this work. Trading Broussard and making Snelling the everyday DH saves about $3.5m, adds a prospect, and keeps Snelling from hurting himself in the field. Alternatively, you keep the roster intact and use Snelling as a DH/LF/RF supersub, collecting 300 at bats or so as tenth hitter. It's not ideal, but it's better than giving those AB's to Willie Ballgame.

I'd love it if Guillen were here to DH against lefties and spell Ibanez/Snelling in the corners, but if Bavasi promised him a starting job, then he wouldn't take too kindly to a demotion, and the last thing we need is for Guillen to flip out in April. After all, the chances of him murdering someone I like are far greater than the chances of him murdering someone I don't.

I suppose we should've known from the $5m guaranteed salary that Guillen wasn't here to be a semi-regular. He's going to start, and that makes me a little less happy about this than I was last night. Still, though, I like it. If he's healthy - and there's no reason why he shouldn't be, after a successful surgery - he's going to hit for power, and should he begin to struggle, then we already have a more than capable replacement on hand. And as last year's experience with Carl Everett showed, the front office isn't afraid to cut someone who isn't doing his job (even if they're a little slower on the draw than we would've preferred). The advantage of one-year contracts is that if Guillen and Thomson don't perform, they're gone. In that respect the risk is low, even if the starting situation come Opening Day isn't perfect.

At this point it looks like Guillen's going to start, but Snelling's still going to get his at bats, even if Broussard sticks around. As far as I can tell, there'll be an inverse relationship between Guillen's production and Snelling's playing time, so either way we should be happy. We just need to know that Hargrove won't be afraid to take action if Guillen sucks, but that's a whole other can of worms.

Since coming to better understand Mike Hargrove's incompetence, I've believed that Bill Bavasi has two primary jobs as GM: (1) improve the roster, and (2) make it idiot-proof. Adding Guillen accomplishes the former, but only partially addresses the latter. If this is going to work out as well as we all want it to, then barring a trade it's on Hargrove to figure out the best way to manage the Snelling situation. Cross your fingers.