Guillen’s extension: no thanks
Dave’s off his rocker. Guillen’s been a nice pickup, no doubt, and we’re all happy he’s here, but the M’s already have roster problems in the outfield: Jones needs to start in 08, and we’ve also got Balentien, who has made huge strides offensively this year and looks ready. Both of those guys have potential coming out their ears, and they’re as close to free as to make no odds. To make room for Jones, someone’s got go to somewhere, and it ought to be Ibanez to DH or 1B, pushing Sexson out. Then to play Balentien, you can’t retain Guillen, since Ichiro’s not going anywhere…
I’m not all that worried that Guillen’s going to drop off a cliff or anything, though that’s certainly possible. Or even that the contract’s outrageous, because it’s not — though I’ll point out that it’s another great example of teams not learning from success. “Hey, we turned this random guy into an ace closer! No way that would happen again! Let’s give them a 10y, $230m extension!” “Hey, we found a pretty good outfielder on the scrap heap and only had to pay them a couple million! There’s no chance we’d ever be that saavy twice — extend that player’s contract!” There will be Jose Guillen-type finds next year. The M’s just won’t be making them.
And I don’t care that it means the team would be starting 08 with two new outfielders. They’re the best option the team has, and an Ichiro-Jones-Balentien outfield would be a huge defensive upgrade over this year’s.
But think even beyond that: this team has a huge gaping hole of a rotation for next year. I’m all for free talent acquisition, especially gambling in the 4-5 slots, but as we’ve seen, the team desperately needs to upgrade the rotation. Considering how they’ve doled out the payroll in past years, it’s entirely possible that $10m’s going to be the difference between giving Schilling or whoever a short, extremely lucrative deal and seeing who wants to come on board for $6.5m and free Moose rides.
The M’s have better, cheaper long-term solutions that will help build a young core that can compete for championships. They have better uses for the money. They’re paying for security when security’s not what the team needs.