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Yuni vs. his predecessors, part 11 March 21, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary, stats.
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Here he is, the least durable shortstop the Mariners have had:
1998-2003: Carlos Guillen
Stats: .264/.335/.383 in 1,665 at-bats over 6 season. Guillen was the regular shortstop only from 2001 to 2003 (after Alex Rodriguez jumped off the sinking ship that was to be the 2001 Mariners). His rate stats are almost identical for those years (.265/.338/.381). The biggest knock on Guillen was his durability. He never played in more than 140 games in a season with the Mariners. In Guillen’s first season after he was traded to Detroit, he went .318/.379/.542 in 136 games. As expected, his season ended when he tore his ACL.
Place in M’s fandom: Largely forgotten. He helped the Mariners through their post-Rodriguez hangover. Every season he was the starting shortstop, they won at least 90 games. The year after he left (2004), they lost 99.
If Mariners fans remember Carlos Guillen at all, it’s probably because he got tuberculosis toward the end of the 2001 season. He even had to be quarantined (TB’s mighty infectious). The Seattle Times wrote a profile on Guillen just two days before he was sidelined with TB. Most depressing quote from Carlos: “(Playing) one-hundred-forty games. I am very happy for that.” As early as July 2001, Guillen was coughing up blood. Guillen really wanted to play those 140 games.
Fans might also remember Guillen from his series-clinching squeeze bunt in the first round of the playoffs in 2000. FOX Sports Northwest called that game the M’s best victory at Safeco Field, ever.
Still, stepping into Alex Rodriguez’s shoes (and, I’d feebly argue, keeping the seat warm for Yuni) didn’t make Guillen a fan favorite. For added overshadowing, Guillen joined the Mariners right as Randy Johnson, the franchise’s best pitcher, left. Now, M’s fans feel no emotional attachment to Guillen, just remorse–we traded him to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago and Juan Gonzalez? No, not that Juan Gonzalez.
Wikipedia/Google: His middle name is Alfonso. I like him more already.
Best line in his Wikipedia page (italics by me): “In 2006, Guillén became the first player in modern Major League history to raise his average for six consecutive seasons, batting .320. (good…) In the field, however, he tied for the major league lead in errors at shortstop, with 28 (baaaad…). Guillen’s defense has gotten so bad that the Tigers are switching him to first base.
There are 8 Carlos Guillen posters available at AllPosters.com. There aren’t any Yuniesky Betancourt posters, but there is a Salvador Cisneros Betancourt poster, for all those frat boys in love with 19th century Cuban presidents.

So, was Carlos Guillen a better M’s shortstop than Yuniesky Betancourt? Maybe if he hadn’t gotten traded. But as it stands, Yuni’s only played 7 less games at short then Guillen, and better power and defense. Guillen’s only advantage was that he could walk, but he’d better do so gingerly… he might break something.

Next: The M’s splashy free agent shortstop.

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