NATS SHOULD SIGN GUILLEN FOR 2007
[July 21st] -- I worked for a very remarkable man In West Palm Beach Florida some years back. I ran his camera store, the largest on the East coast of the state. One of my first acts as manager was to try to "clearance" a bunch of old lenses that fit the old Pentax "universal" mount camera, which hadn't been made in ten years. He stopped me dead in my tracks. "We don't do that here," he said. Instead of selling a dozen lenses purchased at $50 for $40, Larry ordered in some bodies for those zoom lenses. Because he bought all Pentax had left of that type of body, they game him a "sweet deal." I then made a "sun and fun" Florida-type display, and instead of losing $10 per lens, we sold each package for about $60 more than cost. "That's how we do it here" Larry said with a smile.
And that's just exactly how the Washington Nationals should do it too.
Now that Jose Guillen is on the disabled list with a sore elbow, there is no way that any team, even the most desperate, is going to take a chance on the volatile outfielder. The Washington Post suggested that, while the team won't be able to make a deal prior to the trading deadline, they "might" be able to work a deal in August.
No way that's going to happen.
After July 31st, Guillen would have to clear waivers, and there will be multiple teams willing to pick up the remaining portion of his modest contract. No, Jose Guillen is going to finish the year with the Nationals, and then he'll be gone, on to his next "duty station," and the Nats won't get a red-cent for him. What makes that possibility even less palatable is the fact that the two players that Jim Bowden traded to the Angels for Guillen, Macir Isturis and Juan Rivera are having outstanding years for Los Angeles. Rivera will hit 20 home runs this year, and Jose Guillen can't make a throw from the outfield. It just can't end like this.
Jim Bowden should take a page from my old boss Larry's book, and re-sign Guillen to a one-year contract for the same dollar amount as he's making this year (my guess is that Guillen would jump at the chance). When healthy, Guillen is one of the premier defensive right-fielders in the National League. When healthy, Guillen (based on past performance), will hit .285-30-100. I know, I know, the Nationals are "going young," but the addition of Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns has slowed that process down just a bit. Why not keep Guillen, then? Soriano will surely be traded by July 31st, opening left-field for Austin Kearns and center-field for Alex Escobar. That's a pretty potent outfield. Next year (hopefully), Guillen will remain healthy, and have some pretty impressive numbers right about this time. I mean, .280-23-55 aren't out of line, are they? So, I'm wondering how many prospects the Nationals could get for the Jose Guillen of 2007? Two? Three?
If the Nationals just let Jose Guillen play out his contract, he's gone and all we have left from his two years in Washington are the memories of his tantrums. If we keep him just one more year, he can not only bring us that one prospect we were hoping for this year, but more because he'll be healthy.
Having, or not having, Jose Guillen next season won't slow down the rebuilding process or increase the payroll to any great extent. Guillen is like a stock that's down right now. We know he's going to be worth a lot more next year, but we have to concede that we may lose a little more value before we make our killing.
I say we wait and make our killing next year.
I sure don't want to keep seeing Juan Rivera hitting home runs on SportsCenter year in and year out and not be able to point to someone we still have that was part of that trade, be it Guillen or someone we traded Guillen for.
In the words of "Pistachio Disguisey," The Master of Disguise, "Yes, it's crazy ... it's so crazy that it JUST ... MIGHT .... WORK!"
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