TigsTown Roundtable: Guillen's Production

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Is Carlos Guillen reaching the end of the road as being a productive big leaguer?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Carlos Guillen has been battling injury problems, so there's reason for excuses why his production has been down to start the season. That being said, he's well north of 30 now, and has never been an ironman type player, with nagging injuries plaguing his entire career really. There's a slow but steady declining trend in his numbers over the past two seasons, and with his health clearly not getting any better, there's no reason to believe his numbers will swing either. I think Guillen can still be a respectable major-league hitter for at least another year or two (permitted he's healthy, which we expect to happen at least some of the time), but he's no longer going to be able to be relied upon as a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
D-O-N-E. Done. While there might still be a spurt here or there left in Guillen's bat, I believe his time as a productive cog in Detroit's lineup is done, and the sooner that is realized within the organization, the better. The warning flags have been there, but as with many team leaders, you are always reluctant to acknowledge them. In the first half of 2007, Carlos Guillen posted a robust .325/.393/.576 triple-slash line. That fell to .267/.320/.427 in the second half of that year. In 2008, Guillen went .284/.365/.432 in the first half, and posted a .292/.410/.448 in limited second half action. Those numbers are solid, though unspectacular, and a continuation of the down second half he posted in 2007. The start of the 2009 season has seen the continuation of that. Through Sunday's games, Guillen was hitting a platry .198/.268/.244. On the surface, this may not be convincing, so let's look deeper. Since 2007, Guillen's gone from hitting a home run once every 26.9 at-bats, to hitting one every 42 at-bats in 2008, to having yet to hit one in 86 at-bats through Sunday. Maybe the home runs turned to doubles and there is still hope? In 2007, Guillen rung up an extra-base hit once every 8.7 at-bats, falling to once every 10.2 at-bats in 2008, and now one every 21.5 at-bats so far this year. That's not a good trend folks. Looking deeper still, Guillen went from swinging at 25% of the pitches he sees outside the strike in 2007, improved to 21.2% in 2008, and has spiked to 27.9% early this season. His contact rate on those swings outside the strike zone has gone from 63.5% in 2007, to 65.5% in 2008, to a unreal 75% in 2009. This is a guy that's swing at more pitches outside the strike zone, and somehow making more contact on those pitches. That tells me he's not seeing the ball as well and not swinging as aggressively, resulting in a bunch of weak swings and hits. That is supported by an infield fly ball percentage that has increased from 6.7% in 2007, to 12.9% in 2008, and peaking at 14.3% so far this year. It pains me to say it because I like Carlos Guillen and I like what he has done as a member of this organization, but I think it is time to realize he is no longer a key member of this team; he's just done as a serious offensive threat.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
It is very possible that Carlos Guillen is reaching the end, but at the same time, he has been bothered by a sore Achilles tendon, so his slow start can be attributed to that. Guillen was quoted in an MLB.com story as saying that the tendon bothers him when he runs, which certainly doesn't help him when he is playing in the outfield. If his situation doesn't improve, I could see the Tigers putting him on the disabled list and let Josh Anderson handle left field with a rotation at the DH spot until he's ready. Guillen is no stranger to injuries, and with one like this, the Tigers need to make sure he is ready to play before sending him to the outfield on a full-time basis.

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