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Carlos Guillen solid but unspectacular, when healthy

Every weekday between now and mid-November, we'll be looking closer at a Tigers player. For more information on the series, including a schedule, please check this post out.

Once a steal for the Tigers, in recent years Carlos Guillen has been anything but the player we hoped he would be after he signed a four-year, $48-million extension in 2007. He went from an everyday shortstop who earned MVP consideration in 2007 to an outfielder to a second baseman by the time he reached the end of his year in 2010. Guillen's bat saw a downgrade from well above average to simply average. As a second baseman, that would be fine. As a part-time DH, that's a bit of a problem. His durability, too, has been an issue, as he went from 151 games to 113 to 81 to 68.

You could call Guillen's 2010 season a disappointment if you wanted, but in reality it's hard to be disappointed in a player who everyone simply expects to be injured for half the year. When healthy, Guillen gives the Tigers some veteran experience in the lineup and serviceable defense at second base.

For the time he played, I give him a C. I feel like I give that grade a lot, but when the team is exactly .500 theres a lot of average out there! However, looking at the overall picture almost requires you to call his grade incomplete at best. or below average at worst considering the massive amount of time spent on the disabled list.

At the plate:

34 68 275 253 26 69 17 1 6 34 1 2 21 41 .273 .327 .419 .746 102
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/17/2010.

Guillen was an above-average batter, but just barely. He struck out less than his normal amount, but walked less than normal, too. He also showed a noticeable decrease in power and had his lowest on-base percentage since 2002. Guillen simply is not the player he used to be.

But let's compare apples to apples in 2010. His on-base and slugging were both slightly above the positional average for second basemen. As a designated hitter, his power does not compare favorably but his ability to get on base ranked just below the middle-point for qualified batters.

In the field:

Guillen made 45 starts at second base this year before being injured. For the games he did play, his UZR was a trickle of runs below average.

In the eye test, he looked much better than I'd have expected. He made a few plays I wouldn't have expected and did well on the fundamental plays he had to make.

What 2010 tells us about 2011:

Unfortunately, Guillen's probably going to earn another incomplete in 2011. In September, he underwent microfracture surgery on his knee. He will not be ready to start the season at second base. Given typical recovery times for the surgery, he could be out half the year.

Given the fact his numbers have fallen each year with each accumulated injury, I would not expect Guillen to even be an average player in 2011. Counting on him to produce like the past would at this point be a mistake.

That's too bad, too. He has been a good soldier for the organization, changing positions as they've asked -- granted, with some disgruntled talk to the press in the past -- and seems like a nice guy. This year he was nominated for the Clemente award for service. A turnaround story would be nice. I just don't see it happening.


I used Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs and