The Media and Jose Guillen
Occasionally, the local beat writers like to play the “we’re objective!” card to try to explain why you should listen to them despite the fact that their analysis is usually horrible. But then, they write about Jose Guillen, and their analysis becomes both horrible and unobjective.
Case in point, John Hickey’s latest musings on Guillen and how retaining him would have effected the Mariners.
Guillen has, after a slow start, come on to have a decent (.263, 20 homers, 93 RBIs) season…
Guillen’s hitting .263/.297/.446 – he’s hit a few longballs, but they just serve to somewhat offset his abysmal rate of reaching base, making him a slightly below average hitter instead of a horrible one. I don’t care how much you think all our statistical analysis stuff is crap – you can’t sit there and honestly believe that a right fielder with a .297 on base percentage is having a decent offensive season. You have to intentionally ignore the facts to write that sentence.
The reality is that Guillen’s been worth a couple runs less than an average major league hitter this year, thanks to his out making prowess. Corner outfielders hit better than the average hitter, so we can knock off another five runs or so to compare him to his positional peers. And, to boot, he’s also played absolutely abysmal defense. The Fielding Bible’s +/- system has him at 19 plays below average on the season, which works out to about -15 runs or so.
Overall, Jose Guillen has been about 20 to 25 runs worse than a league average right fielder this season. If you think that’s a decent season, you don’t know baseball.
for a Kansas City team that’s only claim to fame is that they’re going to finish 2008 with a better record than the Mariners.
Wait – isn’t part of Guillen’s mythical appeal that his presence in the locker room makes the team’s he’s on magically better? In fact, let’s just go ahead and skip down to where Hickey makes that point in the same post.
That’s a lot to put on one man’s shoulders, but there’s no doubt that one of the reasons the Mariners won 88 games last year was because they had an in-your-face guy, Guillen, in the clubhouse.
That’s right, folks – there’s “no doubt” that Guillen’s personality was one of the main reasons the M’s won 88 games, and his loss is one of the main reasons why the M’s suck this year. Except, you know, the Kansas Royals have Guillen this year, and they didn’t have him last year, and they’ve improved a whopping .014 points in Win%, going from .426 to .440.
If Guillen’s clubhouse influence is without doubt, why haven’t the Royals bonded together and performed better than expected? What players has Guillen held accountable and forced to perform who otherwise would have slacked off without his vaunted leadership? Seriously, name a player on that roster that you could make any kind of argument that Guillen has helped this year. Just one.
The beat writers love to tell us that Guillen kept the young players focused on winning and playing the right way, inspiring them to work hard by his example. But in his only season here, Jose Lopez – the guy who the organization constantly reminds us needs help working hard – had his worst season as a Mariner, and then had his best season as soon as Guillen left.
If you want to play the correlation = causation game, then you might as well conclude that Guillen was responsible for Lopez’s brutal 2007 season. Or, you could realize that correlation is not causation, and that the team’s collapse is due to things beyond not having a replacement level right fielder yelling in the clubhouse.
John Hickey’s not stupid. But when it comes to Jose Guillen, the guy who was constantly there for the beat writers last year, the media has no objectivity. They continue to ignore facts in order to fawn over a guy they like, whose personality fits their preconceived notion of what a clubhouse leader is supposed to look like, despite the fact that Guillen is one of the main reasons the Royals haven’t improved at all this year.
Jose Guillen’s having a horrible season, and he’s costing the Royals $12 million a year for the right to not make them any better. And yet, the local writers continue to write about Guillen as a glowing savior.
Good luck playing the objectivity card, fellas. Your biases are just as obvious as you claim ours are.