The Royals enjoyed a nice, if not a little more thrilling than necessary, win last night over the White Sox to take the series. It was one of those ‘go figure’ games in which Kansas City plated seven runs despite resting two of their three best hitters (DeJesus and Aviles) and batting major league journeyman Wilson Betemit fifth.
They also saw a cruising Zack Greinke, having tossed just 87 pitches over seven innings of one-run ball, give up five straight hits in the top of the eighth inning. Seriously, can anyone remember five runs being scored without the benefit of a home run in a shorter period of time?
We also saw Jose Guillen, YES JOSE GUILLEN, make a great running catch in the top of ninth that ended with him crashing into the wall. Truly, it was a great catch which capped off a night that saw Jose being booed early in the game, only to be cheered as he slammed a three run homer later. A typical Jose Guillen kind of night. Speaking of which….
It is no longer quiet on the Jose Guillen front. Jeffrey Flanagan at Fox Sports posted a story last night with a boatload of quotes from the Royals’ quotemaster. I had just been thinking the other day how Guillen had said so very little this year and pretty much just gone about his business. Well, no more.
I am not going to go into the comments themselves as they are either of the ‘Jose being Jose’ variety or, frankly, dead-on right. You also are treated to the standard organizational cover provided by Ned Yost, who is quick to point out that ‘Jose always plays hard’. I will leave the reaction to the commenters on all of this. What is noteworthy about this outburst is what it might do to the Royals’ chances of trading Guillen.
Now, it is fashionable amongst Royals fans and observers to discount all Guillen trade speculation as a ‘waste of time’ as their ‘is absolutely no way anyone will want Jose’. Maybe, maybe not. It is very easy to dismiss all trade speculation as wrong and make yourself look astute, given that 99% of what is written or heard never comes true. That said, in a world where the Rays have tried Pat Burrell and Hank Blalock at DH, only to release both of them, and where the New York Yankees’ primary designated hitter is hitting less than .200, I find it hard to believe there is not some market out there for Guillen.
After all, we are talking about a guy who is posting a .281/.342/.472/.814 line, which would be good for a tie for 30th in baseball among all outfielders (I know, ‘outfielder’ is a stretch). That mark ties him with Andres Torres, Carlos Gonzalez and Jonny Gomes: not exactly elite company, but still three regulars on teams that believe they are contenders.
With the Royals reportedly willing to take on a chunk of Guillen’s remaining salary and hoping (or at least they should be hoping) to merely clear a roster spot for Kila Kaaihue and not so concerned about what they might get in return for Jose, I thought a trade was a real possibility. Thought being the operative word here.
You see, Guillen was posting numbers in line with some of his better seasons and was quietly going along with the team’s wish of playing him mostly at designated hitter, despite his own personal distaste for the idea. Aside from a ‘blister issue’, Guillen had been relatively healthy as well. Everything was adding up to making Guillen marketable in July until he decided to open his mouth.
Again, there is a lot that Jose is quoted as saying in Flanagan’s article that I flat-out agree with. The Royals are fundamentally bad, they have lacked leadership and they do act like babies at times: there is really no denying any of that. Still, did you have to come out and say it thirty-one days before the trade deadline, Jose?
These quotes might well be every bit as damaging as Reggie Sanders’ conveniently exploding hamstrings that kept the Royals from trading him for Melky Cabrera twice.
The Royals needed to trade Guillen this summer, if only to finally force management into giving Kaaihue a couple hundred at-bats to either prove or disprove he belongs in the majors. I am okay with letting Alex Gordon spend the summer in Omaha perhaps realizing that half of fair territory lies to the left of second base, but I am not willing to enter next spring with the same debate that has raged over Kaaihue since 2008.
Truth is, the only way we avoid that debate is to have a rival general manager give Dayton Moore enough in return for Guillen so that Moore’s ego will be soothed sufficiently to allow him to portray the deal as ‘value for value’. Truth is, Jose’s untimely comments might well have scuttled any such hope.