Jose Guillen's Vitals
29 year old outfielder, 5-11, 195, bats and throws right. Career BA .274, OBP .322, 110 HR, 458 RBI in eight seasons. Has also played for Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Cincinnati, Oakland, and Anaheim.
Some say he's a talented five-tool outfielder with All-Star potential; others claim he's a journeyman with severe attitude issues. The truth is that he's both.
When we last saw Jose Guillen he was being deactivated by the playoff-contending Angels. They found his behavior after being pulled for a pinch runner in late September so egregious that the team suspended Guillen and his bat, which had produced a .294 average, 24 homers and 104 RBI's, for the remainder of the season. Despite some kiss and make up talk early in the offseason, the Angels traded Guillen to Washington for promising outfielder Juan Rivera and prospect Maicer Izturis.
Getting a fresh start in a new city is nothing new for Guillen. He's played in every time zone as he has bounced through both leagues, now landing with his seventh team in what will be his ninth season. Such a job history inspires some double-edged thinking. He must be a pretty talented player for all of those teams to want him and he must do some things that make him pretty unwelcome for those teams to keep shipping him out.
Guillen is a classic free swinger, one who rarely sees a pitch he isn't willing to take a hack at. That has given him a career ration of about one walk to every three strikeouts. Still, his OPS (On base percentage Plus Slugging percentage, a combined measure of both on-base ability and power) was .928 in 2003 and .849 last year. Considering that an OPS in the .900's puts you in A-Rod's and Vlad Guerreo's neighborhood, that's pretty impressive. If he can get some men on base in front of him and some protection behind him, 35 home runs and 125 RBI is a reasonable goal for him.
Guillen's ability in the outfield would keep him drawing a major-league paycheck even if his OPS was 200 points lower. His range is good, but it's his arm that sets him apart. According to an assessment by Stats, Inc. his arm strength makes it "almost unfair" to have him in the outfield. In his second year in the majors with Pittsburgh, he recorded an incredible 16 assists from right field. Since then, most runners have learned not to take the extra base on him. Still, he threw out 9 runners last year.
Sometimes problem children—and there's no question that that shoe fits Guillen—turn into problem adults. It happens in baseball and it happens in life. Other times, especially when a potential contract worth tens of millions of dollars is at stake, the enfant terrible has the incentive to become the mature adult. We will see which path Jose Guillen takes.
2005 Down and Up
Downside: .255 BA, 18 HR, 75 RBI
Upside: .295 BA, 35 HR, 130 RBI
To find Jose Guillen's career stats on Baseball-Reference.com, go to http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/guilljo01.shtml
To find previous player profiles in the "Who Are These Guys?" series introducing you to your new Washington Nationals, visit the Capitol Dugout home page at CapitolDugout.com and search for "Nationals".
Who Are These Guys? Jose Guillen
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