Leyland: Guillen must produce to play every day

After Carlos Guillen said Tuesday that he wants an everyday job again, manager Jim Leyland said answered publicly Saturday by saying that if Guillen wants to play every day, he needs to stay healthy and produce.

Leyland said he, too, liked the idea of the switch-hitting Guillen playing every day.

“That’s music to my ears,” Leyland told MLB.com. “But playing every day comes with production.”

Leyland traditionally would rather have his players discuss their issues with him privately rather than take them public. He has not talked with Guillen since season’s end.

Leyland stood by his comments from the final days of the season, when he said he made his late-inning outfield moves for defensive purposes. He also kept in mind concerns about his shoulder prior to the stretch run, notably in terms of throwing.

27 Comments

Well, there you go, communicating through the media. It’s pretty obvious to me they don’t feel comfortable sitting down face to face with him or it’s not encouraged. I agree with what Leland said, but why doesn’t he discuss some of these issues with his players the same day or the same week these issues come up.

This has happened before. During last year’s “controversy” with the departed Jason Grilli’s comments, Guillen played heavily into that too, with his own comments to the media. It does make one wonder.
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At any rate, I agree with what JL said here. I might also add that I don’t think many fans disagreed with removing Carlos for defense. The disagreement from the fan base came from removing Ordonez too early in a game. Two different issues.
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Just to go back quickly to the Polanco thing, I think the ideal situation is to have him back and begin working Sizemore in. I don’t think Polly is too old, but I do think he has back issues. Unlike some so called media experts, I’m not convinced that Polly is a goner yet. Sure, Santiago can play secondbase, but it seems he’s been deemed incapable of playing an entire season, although that’s never been proven or disproven. I thought the Santiago/Everett shortstop thing worked out pretty well.
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–Rich

Carlos needs to catch long ball every day during the off season. If he can throw a bullet to the plate like Raburn, and jump more than a few inches off the ground, the job is his as far as I’m concerned. While I’m on the topic of Raburn, who will they get to spell Inge at 3rd. I know Raburn made 3 errors his one shot at third, but give the guy a break. He does play infield and that would be a good place to put him if Brandon breaks down.

I’m surprised Leyland gets to keep his job never mind Guillen
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http;//devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Inge doesn’t have to produce to play every day. He hit under .190 for July, AND August, AND September, yet he played 161 games. AT Guillen’s position from last season.
Sheffield didn’t have to produce to play every day. Day after day, month after month, for a year and a half, Sheff was flailing away, killing the team, and staying in the lineup.
Granderson was the worst- that’s THE WORST hitter in the league vs LHP’s, yet he played every day.
Clete Thomas couldn’t hit major league pitching, yet Leyland had him batting third.
Adam Everett was the second worst hitter in the league vs RHP’s, yet he played against them plenty.
I’m glad to hear that Leyland expects production from his hitters.
Music to my ears.

ON POLANCO:
You can’t tell me that you’re going with “defense first” and then let Polanco go without an arbitration offer. Polanco is the steadiest defender we have on the team.
You can’t complain about leaving too many runners on base, and let Polanco go without an arbitration offer. He hit .331 with runners on base.
You can’t tell me that Adam Everett was chosen for his defense, while you let Polanco walk. He was signed because he’d sign for one season and he was cheap.
If Polanco is not offered arbitration, it’s because management is being cheap.
The bullpen could have been fixed without breaking the bank, but DD gave us a pen without a single reliever coming off a good season. Now, we have two relievers that had good seasons- and they might both walk while DD raves about the “internal solutions”.
If the Tigers let Lyon, or Rodney, or Polanco go because of money, then DD needs to go also.
Dombrowski wasted $ 71 million payroll on Guillen, Ordonez, Sheffield, Robertson, Willis, and Bonderman- for WHAT production? (I won’t throw in Inge’s paltry six mil).
In 2010, it’s more of the same. What’s worse, is I don’t trust him to hit the free agency market in 2011. NO TEAM acquired fewer free agents, or spent less on them, than the Tigers in the past three years. Better hope that DD can sell what’s left of the farm for some bona fide major leaguers, and sign them to expensive extensions.

“If the Tigers let Lyon, or Rodney, or Polanco go because of money, then DD needs to go also.
Dombrowski wasted $ 71 million payroll on Guillen, Ordonez, Sheffield, Robertson, Willis, and Bonderman- for WHAT production? (I won’t throw in Inge’s paltry six mil).”

in principle I agree.

However: bondo, nate, ordonez and guillen HAVE produced over the past 3 years. Nate and Bondo pitched and won Playoff games, and Ordonez brought us to the WS and was the hottest hitter in September.

yeah, willis and sheff were major mistakes. But just because those nate, bondo and guillen haven’t produced much lately…..doesn’t mean the MAN WHO MADE US A GOOD TEAM should go.

c’mon man.

“Inge doesn’t have to produce to play every day. He hit under .190 for July, AND August, AND September, yet he played 161 games. AT Guillen’s position from last season.”

And yet, Inge had 9 HR and 32 RBI in that time period while Guillen had 11 HR and 35 RBI. They were not substantially different at the plate except for average, but there was one big difference: Even hurt, Inge could play third base, something Guillen proved incapable of when healthy in 2008. Guillen made 15 errors in only 85 games (277 chances) last year, while this year Inge had 20 errors in 160 games (444 chances)

“Inge doesn’t have to produce to play every day. He hit under .190 for July, AND August, AND September, yet he played 161 games. AT Guillen’s position from last season.”

And yet, Inge had 9 HR and 32 RBI in that time period while Guillen had 11 HR and 35 RBI. They were not substantially different at the plate except for average, but there was one big difference: Even hurt, Inge could play third base, something Guillen proved incapable of when healthy in 2008. Guillen made 15 errors in only 85 games (277 chances) last year, while this year Inge had 20 errors in 160 games (444 chances).

My point about Inge playing Guillen’s position, is that JL’s statement about “you have to produce to play” is obviously false. Inge proved that, and it had to frustrate Guillen. Inge sucked for three months at the plate. Everett proved it also, as did Granderson against lefties. You don’t need to produce to stay in Leyland’s lineups.
I don’t think that JL had a whole lot of options at third when Inge was struggling. Not just struggling- when he was killing the team for three months. But JL sure didn’t try very hard. Inge had 80 more AB’s than Guillen did after the break, yet Carlos had more HR, RBI, and hit 80 points higher.
You want to judge Guillen by his errors? Inge led the league in errors at third base. You might want to try another measurement. Carlos was more than adequate at third once he settled in last year. And it’s not just Guillen. Huff, Raburn, Dlugach, and Santiago could all have stepped in to give Brandon a break.
But when Inge is hitting- or not hitting- like he was in 2008, and the second half of 2009, his defense does not justify playing him every day. When he goes to the plate swinging for the fences, he needs to sit, and he’ll figure it out. He CAN hit for average, but refuses to take that approach to the plate. As often as he has tanked doing the same thing, I don’t buy that it’s just his knees. It’s his head!

“bondo, nate, ordonez and guillen HAVE produced over the past 3 years”
Bonderman and Robertson have not produced since they signed their contract extensions, and neither one performed consistently enough to earn those extensions. The next time that Bonderman can put two good half seasons together will be his first.
Guillen was given 4 yrs, 48 million, because he was an elite shortstop- for one season. Once he was moved from that position, he did not justify his contract. Ordonez may be the only good contract of the bunch. He won’t be worth anywhere near $ 18 million next year, but since Dombrowski avoids multi year contracts for free agents at all costs, getting Ordonez was a nice, rare exception. Since DD can’t be trusted to spend the savings elsewhere, I’d rather have Ordonez back than not.
The fact remains that DD has done an awful job of payroll management.

Just to clarify a point being made in the above excellent discussion, the past three years are 2007, 2008, and 2009. 2006 is not included. The main thing in deciding if contracts have been earned is what the player has produced since the contract was signed. Unless I’m mistaken, all of the above contracts except Ordonez’s were given after 2006. A case could be made that some of the contracts have been partially earned. In my view, however, an injured player is not earning his contract in the strictest sense.
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–Rich

And Polanco, signing his contract in 2005, has produced more than any of them. If anybody deserved one of DD’s gift contracts, it’s Polly. But I guess we’re going to let him walk. That’s not the square business I talk about.
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–Rich

Speaking of square business, has anyone received their refund on playoff tickets? It’s been 12 days already.
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–Rich

I would be interested to know if each player undergoes a review – Carlos heading back to Venezuala sounds like none are done after the season ends. Comments about Inge going to play 3rd came out soon after the 2008 season ended..
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JL might not like to talk to his players via the media but astute managers would be read when players have issues. JL has consistently talked to his players through the media for some time – JV last year, Raburn, Miner and now Carlos are definite cases of JL showing poor form leading by example.
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At least we aren’t the only ones – I had thought the Angels were one of the best managed teams. Offering Abreu a contract he might not accept during the playoffs was plain stupid.

Well, I have to disagree with Dombrowski wasting money on Magglio and Sheff. Magglio has given us some of our greatest thrills and he looks to be back in good health and was great down the stretch except when Leland had him sitting in the dugout. Sheff was good, very good, until he got hurt when he and Polanco ran into each other. After that, he wasn’t the same.

Inge may want to play 3rd base every day, but we still have to have someone on the bench who they can slot in if Brandon gets hurt or needs to sit for a day or two.

I selected parts of Jason’s article on the main site and pasted them below. My thoughts follow, for what it’s worth.
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Guillen, perhaps getting to the heart of his frustrations, said he was healthier in previous seasons before he started moving positions.

“I never asked to change positions,” Guillen said Sunday. “I decided to play a different position [when asked]. I want to win. But I don’t want to play [left field] when [Leyland] uses it as an excuse. …

“I did the best I can. I made the move for the team. When I was playing shortstop, I stayed healthy.”

Guillen pointed to his 2006 and 2007 seasons after knee problems limited him to 87 games in 2005. He played 145 games at shortstop in 2006 and 132 in 2007 before moving to first base down the stretch in 2007.
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Guillen also took issue Sunday with Leyland’s lineups, suggesting it was difficult for hitters to get into a rhythm without hitting every day for four or five plate appearances a game.

Guillen batted third, fifth or sixth all but once, but grew frustrated at late-inning defensive and running substitutions. He said his issues had nothing to do with Ryan Raburn, who usually played left field when Guillen didn’t and batted .308 with a .927 OPS and 10 home runs after the All-Star break. He did mention Magglio Ordonez, who was not an everyday starter for much of the summer.

Still, Guillen asked, “How is the offense going to be consistent when you see one guy get three hits and the next day, you don’t play the guy? I can’t understand that. How is the offense going to be consistent when every day it’s a different lineup?”
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My comment on Guillen changing positions: He obviously didn’t want to switch and was put into a tight spot. If he had stood against it, he looks like a prima donna, so he takes one for the team. Unfortunately, JL and DD’s goal of recreating the 1997 Florida Marlins failed miserably, and the Renteria trade is easily the worst Tiger trade in decades, if not in history. That trade has created multiple problems. Myself, I thought Carlos would make a dandy firstbaseman but it became painfully obvious that he didn’t want to play the position and didn’t put in the necessary work to excel there. With 20-20 hindsight, it would have been better to just leave him at shortstop, although I and many others thought he was losing his ability there at the time.
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My comment on the lineup issue: this is serious. So many of us have complained about JL’s ridiculous handling of this phase of the game, and now we see that the players think the same. This is one of those gray areas that doesn’t stand out to the casual observer, but those of us who follow closely see it as a major failing by JL which has cost us countless ballgames. This is one of the reasons I said the other day that any other manager would win 95 games with this team. You can’t quantify how much damage these lineups have done over the past four years. The hitters can’t get into any kind of groove and they’ve finally stopped hitting altogether.
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Bottom line: there obviously isn’t any of that celebrated communication with players that JL is famous for. Wasn’t that supposed to be his biggest attribute? Why is he still managing our club? He should voluntarily step down.
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–Rich

Bravo Rich.
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This may be the thin edge of the wedge. Carlos has been a good player and a a good Tiger. He has been as close to a leader as we have seen for years here.
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The fact he is openly griping about his personal situation means a couple of things.
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Firstly, JL does not have a smooth dialogue with his players as led to believe.
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Secondly, The players do NOT have the kind of respect for JL as we have been led to believe.
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Thirdly, Guillen has witnessed prior player relationships and now feels he should graduate to the next level of player status: That of ‘Entitlement”
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None of these bode well for our team next year. I don’t like the way JL has responded to this. I know he has no trouble in being a dink with reporters and he again, probably should just have answered with a “No Comment” and left Guillen to burn his own bridges. He now appears as Wishy Washy”. The antithesis of the image he likes to project.
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The team would be better off with the both of them gone. Guillen’s only position is DH and his production does not justify even that. It would also put a roadblock on being able to use Ordonez’s part-time use there next year in order to maximize his potential.
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I think Carlos has hurt his image in Motown. I would not be surprised to see something dramatic about this situation eventuate.

While I certainly hate to see these conversations handled in the media- I do feel a sense of relief that we weren’t all crazy thinking JL was doing more harm to the team’s hitting that didn’t need any help to stink in the first place.
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Carlos hasn’t burned a bridge with me. I’m glad he said what he did, just bummed about what it could mean for that non-existent ” team chemistry”.

So after “mending the rift”, Carlos has no further comments. That tends to indicate he is still far from happy with JL’s response.
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Lynn Henning also thinks Zoom Mark IV will be the 2010 closer and amazingly condones it. DD may have pulled a rabbit out of the hat with Rodney’s high wire act this year but Zoom for 2010 will need two rabbits – one for Zoom’s nerves/location and one for his health.
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Henning also sees a trade of Curtis as a way of solving the outfield. This is probable as DD hates to keep paying for players after trades which rules out Maggs on $18m and Carlos on $13m through to 2011.
I would prefer to keep Maggs and also Curtis provided he goes no where near a camera during the off season and sees a lefty batting specialist. DD should get bites for Carlos around the $5-7m mark and doubt he would raise a problem with the no trade clause – the Tig ship is sure taking in water and a good time to bale out.

Further on team chemistry and momentum, has JL never experienced it?? Surely JL isn’t stupid to not realise the next days starter feeds off the positive vibes that come with wins and that 5-7 hits a game is not normal??
I can understand JL never being the catalyst as he walks around shoulders hunched with his hands in his pockets. Or the time Laird and JV were having words and I never saw JL move so quick away to the other end of the dugout.
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As we are stuck with JL whilst DD is at the helm, maybe we can at least help ourselves by coming up with a 10 point list of JL’s ongoing failings.

Are you all saying it is the manager’s fault and not the players? The manager doesn’t hit or field or……….Sorry, couldn’t resist. Like my Uncle said, you run the same line up out there every day unless you are hurt or need a rest. You platoon if there are 2 average players. You know Andy VanSlyke spoke up and was let go. Mr. I will want a winner and he will here the rumblings over the winter. Look how much money we lost by not having just 2 playoff games in Detroit. Guillen is my wife’s Tiger and she know I do not like Leyland. Here is a comparison; Your favorite CD is playing and the next song is not the next song. Fire Leyland!

Wow Dave Brown, you had me worried there till I got to the “sorry couldn’t resist” part. I thought you’d gone over to the other side. :-)
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Stat Dave, your comment on positive vibes brought to mind another pro-Leyland argument, that being it didn’t matter that he started Figaro since we only got one run that night anyway. Well, what did starting Figaro, on top of Cabrera’s misdeeds, do to team morale that night? It was a perfect time to send the big stud Verlander out there. I guarantee we would have lit up the scoreboard with more than one lousy run. This is more of that gray area that some fans don’t understand. One bad move can, and often does, lead to many negative events that could have been avoided. Like I said earlier today, it’s hard to quantify the mistakes this manager has made. Anyone who follows closely can see what’s happening.
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Before this becomes even more of a Leyland-kicking crew than it already is, I’d invite anyone to come on in and defend him. We probably won’t agree, but it would make for good discussion and maybe even open some eyes. There have never been any personal attacks on this blog, so don’t worry about that.
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I read Lynn Henning’s latest raving………I mean, thoughts on what the Tigers need to do this offseason. At least he put a disclaimer in the beginning, so it’s all good. I don’t see how anyone can think of Zumaya as a closer, but I thought the same of Rodney. For four years……….
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–Rich

Well, dmbrown expressed my thoughts perfectly regarding how much money we lost by not making the playoffs. If you don’t live here, you have no idea how awful things are in the city of Detroit and Michigan in general. For that alone, not winning the division, I would have fired Leland. All the restaurants, parking attendants, hotels, cabbies, buses, vendors ……all waiting for the playoffs for that cash flow to the little people and end up seeing it blown up on the last day. ALDS tickets printed and sold for what? Nothing!

And while I’m sounding off, I just got to thinking maybe Leland has never been in control of this team. In ’06, Carlos was considered the heart and soul of the team and the team played a much more loose kind of game. Pockets out all the time and having fun in the dugout. I think the team dragged Leland to the WS.

“Inge led the league in errors at third base. You might want to try another measurement.”

That’s laughable. He led the majors in games played and innings played at the position, too. He also led in putouts and was second in total chances. If Carlos had played as many innings at third in 2008 as Inge did this past year, he would have had 25% more errors, according to his stats. You wouldn’t be defending Guillen at third if he had committed 25 errors, would you?

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