February 19th, 2010
Someone asked how getting a line of the day going, so I figured I’d contribute something. I was talking with Bobby Seay about the first day of workouts, and he said he usually keeps his throwing to long toss and flat ground until he gets to camp. So I asked him: How does your arm feel when you’re throwing your first bullpen session:
Seay’s answer: “You have to really question if this is what you do for a living. I’m serious. The first week you throw, it’s just foreign.”
Now that the White Sox have apparently put a deadline on their dealings with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon — really, it sounds more like a Sunday deadline for Damon to accept their offer rather than pulling the offer — the long-running saga of where Damon is going to play might finally be reaching an end. And the discussion might start turning to how adding Damon might affect other Tigers on the roster.
Actually, it seems like it already has. And one of the oft-discussed questions being thrown around is how Carlos Guillen would react to being displaced from left field. After all, Guillen was vocal in his desire for an everyday position in interviews with MLB.com last October, once last season ended, and reached the point that Tigers officials scrambled to call him in Venezuela and agent Peter Greenberg in New York to reassure Guillen of his role.
Guillen hasn’t reported yet, so it’s hard to ask him. But here’s my take: I don’t think it’ll be as big of an issue as some might think.
For all the buzz Guillen made with his remarks last fall, including how a player can’t be productive when he’s moving around all the time, there was a timing to it. He had been simmering about it since early September, when he started switch-hitting again despite his shoulder injury so that he could get a chance to play against left-handed pitchers. He was frustrated then, but he didn’t want to be public about it. He wanted to wait until the season was over, because he didn’t want it to be a distraction while the team was in a playoff race.
If this team has a chance to win again — and with Damon, it’s hard to argue that the Tigers aren’t a division contender — I don’t think Guillen wants to be a rotten apple before the season even begins. He understands the situation, and he understands his trade value is next to nothing until he proves he can stay healthy.
As I posted on Twitter this morning, Johnny Damon isn’t the only spring training arrival the Tigers haven’t finalized yet. Though Andres Galarraga said during the Caribbean Series a couple weeks ago that he’s weighing an offer from the Tigers to come to camp as an instructor/mentor, both Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski said there’s nothing final.
Dombrowski said the Tigers are trying to reach out to Galarraga’s agents to see if there’s a deal to be worked out, but with arbitration hearings and other contracts to negotiate, it’s been a busy time for both sides. The news came out quicker than the Tigers probably would’ve liked.
“I’m not sure if it’s going to take place or not,” Dombrowski said. “I have not talked to Andres.”
Said Leyland: “I think there’s some hesitation maybe, not on our part. … I just don’t think anything is a slam dunk just yet.”
There’s still an open locker in the clubhouse, right in front of Leyland’s office. Maybe Galarraga can take it. Maybe Damon might like it.
For what it’s worth, the only Venezuelan in Tigers camp right now is the other Galarraga, Armando. He reported early, and nearly suckered an unnamed youngster in camp that he had to show up early on reporting day — like 7 a.m. early. Not as good as the card tricks, but still pretty good. Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera are not here yet and don’t have to be until next week.