Tag Archives: Carlos Gullien

Guillen, Cameron and Other Spring Training Notes


Evidently Carlos Guillen was getting looks at first base as the Mariners continue to try to figure out something for what is usually the easiest offensive position in baseball. Guillen has just 39 starts (31 complete games, 71 total appearances) at first base in his career, but has been good in that limited sample, with 3 “runs saved”. In the last 3 years, mainly playing 2nd base with some outfield, Guillen has saved 2 runs (in 699 PA, a little over a full season). Mariners’ first baseman had an OBP of just .308 in 2011, 5th worst in baseball. The Yankees-Astros-Marlins were about middle of the pack in 1st base OBP with .339. Guillen does have a career OBP of .355, but just a .323 over the last 3 seasons (along with being unable to stay healthy).


Other Mariners Notes: Reports are that the Eric Wedge is prepared to name Chone Figgins as the lead-off hitter and starting 3rd baseman despite the fact that Figgins’ 2 years as a Mariner have been horrible.

Former Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron has decided to retire. Cameron spent 4 years with the Mariners and is the clubs 8th best position player of all time according to Wins Above Replacement.  He is among one of the 13 players in Mariners history with a .350 OBP. Cameron had a .798 OPS (112 OPS +) with 87 home runs as a Mariner. In his 17 year baseball career (1955 games), Cameron had a .249/.338/.444 slash line. Even though I care very little about Hall of Fame arguments, Cameron has a better WAR than Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Lou Brock, Kirby Puckett, Ralph Kiner, Chuck Klein, and Hack Wilson. Cameron spent 2011 with the Red Sox and Marlins, playing in just 78 games with an OPS + of 74 and -.6 D-WAR. Cameron originally signed a minor league deal with the Nationals for the 2012 season.

Mark Appel made his first start for Stanford on Friday night. Why is this important? He is the expected number 1 choice in the 2012 draft, although he is not a lock. As the Mariners have the 3rd overall choice, it makes some sense to take a look at Appel in case he drops down. His first start was called “solid” and “great“, as he pitched 7 innings, gave up 2 hits, walked 2, giving up 1 run while striking out 5. Of course, all is relative, and to really quantify Appel’s performance we must see how good his opponents were at Vanderbilt. For comparison, on Saturday Stanford’s 2nd pitcher Brett Mooneyham gave up 3 earned runs in 6 innings, striking out 8. While Appel pitched an extra inning and gave up 2 less runs, he struck out less batters. This seems to be somewhat a concern for Appel as Kevin Goldstein questions his ability to miss bats (Baseball Cube gives his K-rating a very poor 42). Vanderbilt’s lineup had no players that had an OPS of more than .950 (what I consider the cut-off rate for Division 1 College Players, as there is, on average, a .250 OPS regression for college to MLB) in 2011. This means he faced no one that we would consider an offensive prospect. Appel throws 93-97 MPH, so an impressive fastball, but is apparently in love with change-up, and its not very good. There appears to be a ton of questions on Appel, but that ceiling is high, so the top teams have to seriously ask whether he is worth the risk. Here is some video if you are into that kind of thing:

Position Battles to Watch

Maybe next year.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, it’s time to start wondering what the 2012 roster will look like.

Most of the positions have been locked down, but this spring there will be three interesting position battles to keep an eye on: catcher, left field and third base.


With the acquisition of Jesus Montero, the Mariners should have upgraded their offense, but some think they have also created a logjam at catcher. The Mariners are expected to break camp with three catchers: Montero, John Jaso and Miguel Olivo.

Montero has been such a highly rated prospect because he has a C after his name. The reality of the situation though, is the Montero is not ready to catch at the big league level.

Montero should spend most of this season at DH.

Maybe next year.

Montero probably will catch a few games, and probably won’t be a disaster when he does, but he won’t be good, and will probably be more of a defensive liability than Olivo.

Furthermore, catching every day hurts offensive production, and Montero was brought here for his bat, so that is what he should do.

It makes no sense to damage Montero’s health and offensive potential (ask the Twins and Joe Mauer how that worked out).

John Jaso should get the starting job over Montero and Olivo at catcher.

Jaso batted .263/.372/.378 with just over 400 ABs with the Rays in 2010, earning him a nice 2.7 WAR.  His 2011 campaign wasn’t great though after being hampered by injuries, and he ended the season with a slash line of .224/.298/.354. Jaso should bounce back this season,but he won’t hit dingers, but should be offer more help defensively and offensively than Olivo.

Expect Jaso to catch about 90 games this year, with Olivo catching about 45 and the rest will probably go to Montero.

Left Field

Left field should also provide an interesting position battle between Mike Carp and Casper Wells.  Offensively, they are similar players. Look:

















Both Carp and Wells have been basically the same batters.

Defensively though, Wells beats Carp. Wells has a good arm and ability to track down the ball, so he should get the starting job over Carp.

Carp’s ceiling at this point is something like a Raul Ibanez, a good bat, but sub-par glove.

Third Base

Where things get really interesting though is at third base.

Kyle Seager should be the favorite to get the starting job, as he is the youngest and showed flashes of being good last season.

Seager didn’t walk much, but didn’t strike out much. Which is good, but remember in September Seager only hit a mere .210.

Seager has flown through the minors, and only played 23 games in Tacoma last year. Seager is very raw, and has three other players could take his job.

Those three players that could take the starting job at third are Carlos Gullien, Luis Rodriguez and everyone’s favorite Mariner, Chone Figgins.

Gullien could take the starting role, but hasn’t been himself since 2009 due to injuries, thus he hasn’t played over 100 games in a season since then.

If Gullien can come to spring training and show that he is healthy and can play most of the season, it would not be surprising to see him snatch the starting role.  However, at 36 years old, odds are against him.

Now to the fan favorite, Figgins. Since his arrival in 2010, Figgins has done little to nothing for the Mariners, however, this season, he might provide some use.

If Figgins doesn’t wrestle the starting job away from Seager or Gullien, he’ll spend this season playing the role of a poor man’s Mark McLemore.

With Figgin’s ability to play third and left field he provides much needed depth in those positions.  If Franklin Gutierrez faces health issues again, Wells can slide into center, with Carp taking over left while still allowing someone to still get a day off.

Please don't suck like this again.

Luis Rodriguez will probably be in the conversation for the third base/utility role, as he did provide some great moments last year, like the Toronto comeback.

However, the player that will probably have to worry about Rodriguez, is back up shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, who has much to prove after coming here from Japan.

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