Mr. Damon, meet Mr. Guillen

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.

3 Comments

I get the sense that Carlos Guillen is a very proud baseball player. And he should be. He has carved out a nice, long career with some excellent seasons since coming to Detroit. That being said, if the Tigers sign Damon, Carlos needs to realize that it akes the team better.
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The Tigs have 0 sure-things in the OF right now. Guillen has played little there, and his health is not consistent. AJax is a rookie, so who knows what he will do. They have no idea which Maggs will show up this year. Raburn has been inconsistent across the course of his career, with some awesome stretches and some miserable stretches, both at the plate and in the field. Ramirez and Wells are also both unknowns. Add to that the uncertainty of Inge, Sizemore, Avila, Bonderman, Zumaya, and the Tigers can sure use some consistency.
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If Damon signs and they end up with a surplus of productive OFs by midseason, trades will certainly be made. Carlos is signed through 2012, so one good thing is that he is not playing for a contract this year. Assuming Damon signs for 1 year and Maggs is not vested for 2012, there will be room for Carlos on that roster if he proves he is productive. Or on someone else’s. He benefits nothing from getting bent out of shape. And I like Carlos, so I agree with Jason that he will take this like a professional.

if damon signs, it’ll be a good test for how much of a team player and leader guillen really is. i can certainly appreciate how different it must be for a guy who has been **** for years to sit on the bench and watch the defense play.

also, what are the tigers going to do when jackson needs a break? raburn in CF? keep clete and have him play there? move damon to CF? would leyland ever consider putting guillen in LF and damon in CF? would guillen-damon-ordonez be the worst defensive OF in MLB?

****= playing shortstop

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