It's been all downhill for Carlos Guillen the past few years. After a long climb that began last season, maybe he'll be back on top of his game finally.
Guillen (stats) peaked in 2006, when he played in all but nine games. He had a .920 on-base percentage plus slugging average (or .390 weighted on-base average if that's your style) to show for it. In 2007, he made it in 151 more games and continued to hit well (.859 OPS/.361 wOBA)
Since that time, it's been nothing but downhill for Guillen, as he's battled ache after pain after ache, culminating in a .727 OPS (.328 wOBA) across just 81 games last season.
Guillen told MLB.com's Jason Beck the key to his season is staying healthy. Actually, that's a big key for the Tigers' season, as they've had among the worst-hitting designated hitters in the league over the past two seasons. That and they seriously lack for consistent left-handed hitting in the middle of the lineup, and Guillen provides that.
If he's healthy.
"I'm 34 years old," he said. "Maybe I have a different vision of the game, a little more experience, than young guys. But I learned that sometimes you need to learn from those injuries. That's why I think I'm still in the game.
"I learned to play hard, but at the same time, you have to play smart."
And in other news:
Beck's Blog: Seay feels good, still has ways to go. Seay's arm feels better, but he does not know when he will be able to pitch in a game.
Lynn Henning thinks Don Kelly has the edge for 25th man. His main competition is Clete Thomas, Henning thinks.
- At T75N, Matt adds the name Brent Dlugach to those.
Beck: Robertson consults Tanana, Rogers. Some pretty good names for a left hander to talk to.
Dmitri Young is back in Detroit ... well, Metro Detroit and he's coaching with the Oakland County Cruisers of the Frontier League!
Now that John Smoltz has retired, can Tigers fans retire their lament? A great post by Ian. I've been so sick of hearing the Smoltz whining. So many people seem paralyzed by one trade. That's why they're not general managers.
Jamie Samuelsen: Tigers 3B Brandon Inge is what he is ... a below-average hitter. I think Jamie's arguing with himself here. I don't know a lot of Inge fans who think he's a good hitter. It's everything else about Inge people like. It's kinda like Winston Churchill said about democracy. "No one pretends Inge is perfect. Inge is the worst option for the Tigers at third base, except all the others."
Freep: GM Dave Dombrowski pleased with Tigers' spring. So am I. Now we just have to see if the team can keep doing this in April.
- Edited by Mike: To illustrate the offense, David Pinto got around to the Tigers in his Lineup Analysis. Predicted lineup, if they played every out of the 162 games is 4.63 runs per game or 750 over the course of the season.