Tag: Carlos Guillen

Detroit Tigers: Former Player Carlos Guillen Announces Retirement

Alas, Carlos Guillen‘s 36-year-old body could take no more. After three disappointing seasons riddled with injury along the stretch of a 14-year MLB career, the former Tiger has announced his retirement.

Fox News and USA Today confirmed Guillen’s retirement.

Guillen signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners organization during the offseason after the Tigers declined to make an offer for his services. Guillen played in only 177 games for the Tigers over the past three seasons, and only 28 last season after undergoing microfracture knee surgery as well as sustaining a wrist injury.

Guillen spent the longest stretch of his career in Detroit, arriving in 2004 after spending his first six major league seasons with Seattle. 

His career in the Tigers organization was prosperous during his first five seasons with the club. Over that stretch he was a three-time All-Star (2004, 2007, 2008) and twice hit .320 for the season (2005, 2006). In his eight seasons as a Tiger he holds a career batting average of .297.

In 1,305 career games, Guillen never struck out more than 96 times in a season. He was a specimen at the plate and battled pitchers deep in the count, content with fouling pitches off until he got the one he liked. He finishes his career with a .355 OBP and .443 slugging percentage.

Guillen initially signed with the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent in 1992. He was traded to Seattle as part of the deal that sent Randy Johnson to Houston on July 31, 1998. The Mariners traded him to Detroit in January 2004.

Tigers fans will remember Guillen best for his performance in the 2006 World Series after an outstanding season, hitting 41 doubles, 19 home runs and 85 RBI. Against the Cardinals he hit .353 over five games during the Tigers’ World Series loss.

Guillen may have left Detroit this winter, but Tigers fans will always have a place for him in their hearts.

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Carlos Guillen: The Detroit Tigers’ Mystery Man

He is the Tigers’ mystery man. His uniform ought to be covered with question marks, like The Riddler.

Another spring training is on the horizon. The thought of it alone should warm those cockles in your heart.

But it’s becoming a ritual every February around Tigertown.

Every year around this time, we ask: Will Carlos Guillen be healthy? How much can he play? WHERE will he play?

There have been few men who’ve worn the Tigers’ Old English D, in my time observing the team—and that spans 41 years—with more class and dignity than Guillen.

Guillen is among the finest of gentlemen, and it’s no wonder he’s such a hit with manager Jim Leyland, who adores him.

But Guillen has been held together with rubber bands and bailing wire for the past several seasons. You wonder if his doctor’s last name is MacGyver.

The players are about to pull on the creamy home whites and again we are hit with the questions about Guillen.

It was last August, turning a game-ending double play in New York, when Guillen hurt his knee. As with most Guillen injuries, it didn’t look terribly serious at first, but then they do those MRIs and poke around some more and you find out he’s lost for weeks, not days.

This time, it’s months.

He had to endure microfracture surgery, the new trendy thing to have done if you’re a professional athlete. Look no further than the Pistons’ own Tracy McGrady, who had the surgery two years ago, to see how long full recovery can take.

It’s been two years and only now is McGrady beginning to feel like himself.

The Tigers hope beyond hope that Guillen, 35, can get his knee in shape fast enough and well enough to be the team’s starting second baseman forthwith.

I wouldn’t put too many eggs in that basket.

But all is not lost.

If I had a vote, I’d cast it for Will Rhymes to be the Tigers’ second sacker.

Rhymes, a lefty bat, is a prototypical second baseman. He’s hard-nosed and the front of his jersey is always dirty. He hit .304 in 191 AB last season and only made four errors in 53 games.

He’s a late bloomer, turning 28 on April 1, but that’s still seven years younger than Guillen.

Scotty Sizemore is in the mix, too, but he has health issues as well. The Tigers unwisely force-fed Sizemore onto the Opening Day roster as a rookie last year despite his not recovering fully from his broken ankle suffered in post-October baseball.

The anointing of Sizemore as Placido Polanco’s replacement didn’t go so well; Sizemore was sent to Toledo by midseason.

Rhymes is a better hitter than Sizemore, hands down. And I’m not sure there’s a drop-off in the field, either.

The landscape of the Tigers’ team has changed dramatically since I espoused making Guillen the team’s full-time designated hitter a couple years ago.

The DH role is almost Victor Martinez’s on a full-time basis. The free agent signee figures to DH about 60-70 percent of the time, if not more.

The shortstop position is now filled, with Jhonny Peralta.

Third base is Brandon Inge’s.

And left field is taken by Ryan Raburn, who absolutely needs to take this opportunity in 2011 and seize it.

Guillen also plays first base, but last I heard, the Tigers have someone who plays there who’s not bad.

So it’s second base or bust for Guillen, and I shouldn’t even use his name and “bust” in the same sentence. Or his name and “tear” or “pull” or “strain” or “dislocate.”

Carlos Guillen is a walking question mark. When he’s able to walk, that is.

He’s been a wonderful Tiger and when he’s not battling his body, he’s still a pretty damn good hitter.

But injuries requiring microfracture surgery aren’t to be taken lightly.

Again, ask that dude who wears No. 1 for the Pistons.

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Classy Carlos Guillen Might Need To Be an Ex-Tiger Soon

Carlos Guillen has been one of the finest Tigers in recent memory.

A great teammate, a perfect gentleman.

They’ve moved Guillen all around the field, the Tigers have, both to create space for other players, and to try to protect his body. The former has worked much better than the latter.

The switch-hitting Guillen isn’t all that effective from the right side of the plate, but he still gives you more flexibility because of batting righty and lefty.

But when the Yankees’ Brett Gardner plowed into second baseman Guillen in August in an attempt to break up a game-ending double play, the resulting damage to Guillen’s knee meant yet another trip to the disabled list.

Guillen’s Tigers season ended that night in mid-August. Another year of playing in only a fraction of the 162 games.

You’d be honored to go to war with Carlos Guillen on your side, except for the fact that when you’d like to do so, he’d probably be laid up in a hospital bed somewhere.

The physical limitations of the soon-to-be-35-year-old Guillen (September 30th) have been painstakingly documented, literally.

Guillen hasn’t played in over 120 games since 2007, when he appeared in 151 contests. He missed 49 games in 2008, and exactly half the season in 2009 (81 games). In 2005 he played in just 87 games.

Guillen has been a great Tiger, but he’s held together with bailing wire and screws and bolts. He’s not a man, he’s a case study. All that’s missing from Carlos is a big, red nose that lights up, electrified tweezers, and a game box.

It will be among the most gut-wrenching decisions the Tigers have ever made, but it’s looking to be time to consider lopping Guillen from the 40-man roster.

Such a move will go down like castor oil and leave the aftertaste of limburger cheese, but how much longer can the Tigers wait for Guillen to return to health?

What good is he if he’s playing in 70, 80 games a year?

Guillen’s latest injury involves the use of microfracture surgery on his knee. It’s not the most trustworthy of procedures, and the rehab time can be well over a year.

Guillen played second base this season, his fifth full-time position with the Tigers, and he’s only been in Detroit for seven years.

But the Tigers, if they choose to bring Guillen back in 2011, are fooling themselves if they think Guillen can be a viable option for them at second base.

The Tigers ought to hide all his gloves and make him one of those designated hitters the American League says you can have. Full-time, for as long as he shall stay healthy.

If not that, then it should be adios.

The Tigers, should they decide to part ways with Guillen, need to be careful how they handle such a cashiering. They could look awfully callous and cold-hearted if they do it wrong.

Timing is everything, they say.

So the Tigers will likely—and probably should, frankly—allow him to recover from the knee injury and see how he fares.

But Guillen is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

Guillen is a paradox; he’s versatile yet he’s as fragile as a diva’s ego. He’s great in the clubhouse, except that he’s rarely in the clubhouse.

Guillen wears street clothes more than he does a baseball uniform—and that’s in the summertime.

I’ll go eyeball-to-eyeball with you on this one: I wouldn’t want to be GM Dave Dombrowski when he has to call Guillen into his office and deliver the bad news that will likely need to be delivered.

“Carlos, you’ve been great for this organization but our future plans unfortunately don’t include you.”

The Tigers are trying to build something great again with a mix of their kids from Toledo and the veterans who are able to stay together in one piece.

If Guillen is unable to fully come around after this latest injury, then the Tigers will have to pull a Gary Sheffield on him and release him, forthwith.

Carlos Guillen has been a terrific Tiger. But he can’t seem to stay on the field. There’s always something the matter with him.

He’s a great guy but you can’t rely on him. If his body was as trustworthy as his word or his work ethic or his class, Guillen would be Cal Ripken, Jr.

It’s looking like it’s time to make a decision that won’t be very popular. Not at all.

But it will be the right one.

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Detroit Tigers Injuries Could Be Blessing in Disguise

So long Joel Zumaya, Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez.

Hello Ryan Perry, Don Kelly, Scott Sizemore, Danny Worth, Will Rhymes, and Jeff Larish.

The Detroit Tigers are hurting, but the end to the summer of 2010 could set the table for a great run of success for years to come.

Because of this run of injuries, the Tigers will probably not make any significant moves at the trading deadline.  That means prospects like Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver will remain in the organization as opposed to being traded for Dan Haren or Ted Lilly.

In the case of Ordonez, the Tigers will probably not have to pick up his $18 million player option for next season.  This will give the Tigers a lot of shopping money in the offseason. 

Aside from Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Damon, the rest of the Tigers lineup for Sunday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays featured rookies or players who should still be developing in the minor leagues.

Clearly for the Detroit Tigers, the future is now.

For the rest of 2010, the Tigers will be relying on one of the youngest lineups and pitching staffs in all of baseball.  However, that doesn’t mean the Tigers will be completely devoid of talent.

Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch are just a few of the young stars who will make the future very bright in Detroit.

Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, Soctt Sizemore, and Danny Worth are all prospects who are supposed to be stars in the making.  Aside from Turner, the rest of the players in this group should get a lot of experience through the end of 2010.

There is no doubt that the loss of those four veterans will severely decrease the Tigers’ odds of making the playoffs.  However, even with them in the lineup, the Tigers were still stuck in a three-team race against opponents who they struggle mightily against.

The Tigers would have definitely had to make a costly move in order to acquire a player that would could have catapulted them into true playoff contention. 

In the long run, these injuries could not have happened at a better time.



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Imperfect Perfection: Issues Surrounding Perfect Game Blown Call

On June 2, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed.

Not robbed of a home run, but of a perfect game.

Galarraga retired 26 straight hitters, placing him one out away from a perfect game.

Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians stepped to the plate, the last chance to end perfection.

Donald slapped a ground ball between Miguel Cabrera at first and Carlos Guillen at second. Cabrera ran over to field the ball, backhanded it, and threw it to Galarraga at the bag. The throw beat the runner by half a step. A perfect game! Right?


Umpire Jim Joyce ruled Donald safe at first, causing Galarraga to lose a perfect game. Everyone in the stadium, even Indians fans and players, knew that the Tigers’ hurler had achieved perfection.

Afterwards, Joyce admitted to his mistake.

“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” he said. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

Despite the umpire’s blown call, Galarraga remained calm on and off the field. The two would meet and embrace. Joyce apologized to Armando for his mistake.

The following day, Joyce was behind the plate to umpire the Detroit game. In a class act, Galarraga delivered the lineup card before the game, instead of manager Jim Leyland. Both men displayed a great deal of class throughout an incident that could have been much uglier.

Now, there are discussions taking place to see whether or not the call should be overturned. So far, it appears that commissioner Bud Selig will not change Joyce’s call.

Although some may disagree, I believe that would be the right decision.

I would love to be able to give Galarraga his perfect game. After all, he earned it.

However, if the call is reversed, what will it do to the game of baseball?

Human judgment and error has always been a staple of America’s pastime. Some say to change the call just this time. Unfortunately, that is not an option. If this call is overturned, then there will be argument over future calls that impact games.

A batter called out on strikes to end a game with runners on base could be reviewed. It directly impacts the outcome of the contest. Overturning Joyce’s call would be beneficial in the short term, but controversial in the long term.

Umpires will make mistakes. We all do. It is a part of being human.

In fact, there may have been other mistakes in the game that were in Galarraga’s favor. Obviously, they were not magnified like the final call.

But, simple missed ball and strike calls can affect the mindset of pitchers and hitters.

The bottom line is that umpires make mistakes. It has always been a part of baseball. If Joyce’s call is overturned, it will change the game of baseball forever. We shouldn’t change the game over just one incident.

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Detroit Loses Another Gem

General Motors Plants have been taken away over the years and Detroit has suffered. Detroit has suffered their share of pains by far, and another one occurred tonight. Armando Galarraga, the 28-year-old from Venezula, was one out away from a perfect game against the Indians.

Facing Jason Donald, he was able to get Donald to hit a grounder between the middle of first and second base. Galarraga covered first and received the ball for a Perfect Game. The problem is, the Umpire James Joyce didn’t see it that way. Donald was pronounced safe in a replay which clearly showed he was out. Miguel Cabrera, Jim Leyland and Carlos Guillen argued to no avail. Galarraga could do nothing but smile to the call. He would get the next batter in Trevor Crowe for the 3-0 Win.

Galarraga went the full 9 innings with 1 hit and 3 strikeouts. Fausto Carmona went 8 innings for the Indians and gave up 2 earned runs. It will be interesting to see how MLB goes about reviewing the end of this game.

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Detroit-Oakland: Detroit’s Max Scherzer Dazzles As Tigers Cruise By A’s

It looks like Max Scherzer’s brief stint with the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate the Toledo Mud Hens was just what he needed.

Scherzer dominated while in Toledo, and he looked to be in top form against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

The young right-handed pitcher blazed his way through the A’s lineup with 14 of 17 outs coming by way of strikeout.

And he was aided by his friends during his second big-league triumph.

Detroit’s offense perked up a bit, and the MoTowners downed the A’s 10-2 for the first win of the Memorial Day weekend series.

More importantly, there seems to be a little life in catcher Gerald Laird’s bat—even if for a game.

Laird did something Sunday that he has had trouble accomplishing lately—putting the ball in play.

He finished with two hits, one of which scored a run. On the other side of the coin, his excitement to be on base cost Jim Leyland’s club a base runner, as he was picked off by a sly move to first by A’s pitcher Dallas Braden .

In his second game back from the 15-day disabled list, second basemen Carlos Guillen made his return felt.

Guillen collected just one hit, which drove in a run, but his arm and glove are proving to be invaluable at the middle bag—a slot that he hasn’t played on regular basis in over a decade.

His presence in the infield has brought much needed relief to a position that has been weak for the Tigers.

Brandon Inge must be reading newspapers and Tigers blogs.

He looked like he was on a mission to dismiss his abysmal month-long hitting drought. May hasn’t been kind to Inge—he has just 13 hits in the month, 11 less than he did in April. Racking up three in the last week will likely boost his confidence in regard to swinging the stick.

The Tigers’ third baseman went 3-for-3, which included a home run in the fourth inning. The touch-em-all hit put the Tigers in cruise control on their way to their 26th win of the season.

And speaking of bats, Miguel Cabrera’s is hotter than the weather. Cabrera is on a maniacal pace in 2010, plating runs like it’s going out of style. He had four RBIs on Sunday and holds the top spot in the majors with 48, which is five better than Texas’ Vlad Guerrero.

The American League Central race appears to be a two-horse derby. The Minnesota Twins are nursing a three-game advantage, with Tigers slowly but surely gaining ground.


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Detroit-Oakland: While Cabrera Goes Yard Thrice, Tigers Lose Opener to Athletics

After what could be construed as a successful west-coast road trip, the Detroit Tigers came home Friday to face the Oakland A’s.

And lost 5-4.

Miguel Cabrera supplied all of the offense for Jim Leyland’s club.

Yes, all of it.

Each of the four runs the Tigers put on the board were due to Cabrera’s heavy bat. The three-round-tripper contest was the first for a Tiger since Dmitri Young did it against the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day in 2005.

After the offensive spectacle that was the opening game of the Tigers’ Memorial Day weekend series with the Athletics, Cabrera is the current RBI-leader in Major League Baseball with 44. He is tied for third in the bigs with 13 home runs.

We’ll have to see what Texas’ Vlad Guerrero ends up doing against the Twins tonight in regard to most runs driven in.

Dontrelle Willis was again inconsistent. So what’s new?

This is his third consecutive quality start. Those words are used in jest, of course.

The D-Train that is Willis gave up nine hits in just over five innings, and was pelted for three earned runs.

The Tigers’ bullpen wasn’t much of a help either. Phil Coke has been nearly automatic for much of the season, but he had a rough two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits to leave Ryan Perry in a predicament.

Perry then pegged Oakland’s Mark Ellis to load the bases. It was game, set and match after that.

On the bright side, Detroit’s resident-DL second baseman Carlos Guillen has made his triumphant return. Danny Worth, who played just eight games for Leyland was sent packing to Triple-A Toledo to clear a spot on the roster for Guillen.

Guillen, who is coming off a hamstring injury, looked like the player of old. He was quick, his glove and arm were strong, and he even managed to turn two a couple of times.

He adds another potent bat to the lineup, something that the Tigers are in desperate need of right about now.

Brandon Inge has been on a month-long slide, and catcher Alex Avila and shortstop Adam Everett can’t buy a hit.

They’re suffering from a virus that tends to strike clubhouses when a team is a race for first. It’s diagnosis can be tricky, but physicians have dubbed it “can’t-hit-for-crap-itis.” Hopefully Leyland gets his boys vaccinated.

And soon.

The Tigers are 25-22, and two games behind American League Central leading Minnesota Twins.

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Detroit Tigers Send Sizemore, Scherzer To Minors

After an almost five hour marathon victory, Detroit Tigers’ general manager David Dombrowski announced a few roster moves late Saturday night.

Second baseman Scott Sizemore was sent to Toledo of the International League. Through 30 starts this season Sizemore was hitting a mere .206 with one homerun, and 6 errors in the field. 

Manager Jim Leyland had shown a preference to pinch hit for him in crucial game situations, as well as replacing him defensively in other situations.

His demotion undoubtedly surprises very few, as his struggles at the plate have been readily apparent. This was the prime reason Dombrowski cited for making the move, adding that Sizemore needs to slow the game down.

In Sizemore’s place, the contract of infielder Danny Worth was purchased from the Mud Hens. Worth is a right handed hitting second baseman, drafted in 2008 out of Pepperdine. 

This season at Toledo he was hitting .274 with 14RBIs and 10 stolen bases. He figures to enter a timeshare with Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly for playing time.

However, current speculation is that his promotion is only temporary until Carlos Guillen is ready to return from the disabled list. Guillen was seen yesterday working out at second base. Moving Guillen to second would allow the Tigers to keep the potent bat of Brennan Boesch in the everyday lineup.

Announced alongside this move was the demotion of SP Max Scherzer to Toledo. In his place SP Armando Galarraga was recalled, and will start Sunday’s rubber match against the Boston Red Sox.

Galarraga has made seven starts in Toledo, going 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA and a 38/13 K/BB ratio in 41.1 innings pitched. He should get at least three starts with the Tigers, since Scherzer cannot be recalled until 10 days after being sent down.

Scherzer has struggled in eight starts this year with the Tigers, allowing 34 earned runs in 42 innings. 

In the cases of both Sizemore and Scherzer, Dombrowski noted the need for them to work on their respective game and to regain form and confidence. 

Expect Scherzer’s demotion to be only temporary. If Guillen returns and can stay healthy, however, Sizemore may have a long summer ahead of him in Toledo.

As ever, The Hammer Toss  will keep you informed as more news or speculation becomes available.

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Casper Wells Slated to Be Called Up

The Hammer Toss has returned from an extended absence borne of computer-less-ness. No time to waste, let’s churn up the Detroit baseball scene.

It has been leaked via Twitter that outfielder Casper Wells is slated to be promoted to Detroit from the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. 

No official announcement was made Thursday, but expect it to be made prior to Friday’s series opener against Boston.

Wells is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Tigers’ organization. He stuck in major league camp during spring training, in the running for a spot on the opening day roster. 

Wells did not fail to impress in spring camp, either, hitting .385. Had Johnny Damon not been signed, he may have been the opening day left fielder. 

Alas, Wells was assigned to Toledo to begin the season. He has struggled at Toledo, hitting only .203. He has 5 HR and 12 runs driven in, but 37 Ks to only 24 hits. However, he appears to be set to join the Tigers for a weekend series against the Red Sox. 

So why Wells? If he has not been performing at Toledo, why bring him up?

A few reasons exist, actually. 

Foremost, the need for an additional position player since the need for an extra pitcher has (somewhat) expired. 

With Dontrelle Willis missing Monday’s start, Brad Thomas was forced into a spot start of three excruciatingly inefficient innings. Eddie Bonine was left to pick up the pieces. Coupled together with a doubleheader on Wednesday, the bullpen was taxed.

Alfredo Figaro was summoned from Toledo as reinforcement, at the cost of Ryan Raburn. The need for a 13th pitcher has passed, but MLB rules cite that Raburn cannot be recalled from Toledo until 10 days after he has been sent down. Ergo, it has to be someone else.

Undoubtedly, Detroit manager Jim Leyland wants to get a look at Wells in a few regular season games.

Wells is also getting the nod because he bats right-handed. The other bench options in Detroit are two lefties and a switch hitter (Don Kelly, Alex Avila, Ramon Santiago).

Finally, his call-up will probably be short lived anyway. Because of the doubleheader, Willis is getting moved up to starting Saturday. This leaves a hole in the rotation for Sunday’s finale against the Red Sox. 

Presumably Wells will be sent back down in place of Sunday’s spot starter. My best guess is Armando Galarraga. 

However, we have now entered the section of the story where The Hammer Toss takes a right turn for a wild speculation.

What if Wells’s promotion is permanent? 

Could the Tigers be preparing to sever ties to oft-injured “slugger” Carlos Guillen? It is possible. After all, a year ago the Tigers ate almost $14 million to send Gary Sheffield packing. Perhaps the front office has tired of his inability to stay on the field and contribute. All he contributes now are medical bills while collecting a high salary. Sound familiar, Dean Palmer?

Part of the future of the Tiger outfield has already become the present, in the body of Austin Jackson. Are the Tigers ready to take the next step?

This whole crazy notion was borne from the calendar date. 

By waiting more than 20 days into the season to promote Wells, the Tigers could then keep him on the major league roster the rest of the season without him accruing a year of major league service time. 

Therefore, he would still have to play another three seasons before becoming eligible for salary arbitration. This simple delay can save a club millions of dollars in first time salary arbitration. However, there is one caveat that goes with it; the Super 2 rule. 

The top 17 percent of second year players are awarded a third year of service time and become eligible for salary arbitration. 

While not exact, it has been determined over the years that keeping a player in the minors until around May 15-20 will prevent him from achieving top 17 percent status, thus circumventing the Super 2 rule and saving the club millions of dollars in arbitration.

This is why Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals is not on the major league roster right now, and probably will not get called up until around June 1.

Could the Tigers be doing the same thing with Wells? It is a possibility that has to be taken into account. The Tigers already know they are going to pay good money to Jackson after the 2011 season. He’ll achieve Super 2 status. 

Why not wait for Wells, and do some house cleaning at the same time?

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