Should The Royals Consider Re-Signing Jose Guillen?

Esquire magazine runs an occasional feature called “The Indefensible Position.” If Baseball Digest ran a similar feature, one of the stories could be titled, “The Royals should try to re-sign Jose Guillen.”

Jose Guillen

Now, there are many, many, many reasons to not consider re-signing Guillen. He’s an obnoxious, overpaid clubhouse cancer who has called his teammates “babies.” He’s been linked to steroid use. He called his former manager Mike Scioscia “a piece of garbage.” He gets in fights with fans. He once removed his own ingrown toenail after doctors told him he needed a surgery.

All in all, Jose Guillen is one of the most hated people in the game of baseball, and the least popular Royals player since Neifi Perez.

Despite all that, though, Jose Guillen has also been one of the Royals’ most productive offensive weapons over the past three seasons. No, he wasn’t worth anywhere close to his three-year, $36 million contract, and he’s spent a good amount of time on the disabled list. But when he’s in the lineup, he’s a force to be reckoned with, and a legitimate middle-of-the-lineup bat.

Clearly Guillen will not again receive a contract for $12 million per season from any team in baseball.

But what if he could be had for a million bucks?

Think about it: a one year deal for $1 million.

Just like many players in the big leagues, Jose Guillen seems to magically play better during contract years. He’s doing it this year, and he’s done it in the past. A one-year deal would make 2011 a contract year, too. Maybe Guillen would step up his game even more in the hopes of signing another multi-year deal in 2012.

It could be a win-win situation for Kansas City and Guillen.

One more point: Guillen is virtually untradeable with such a huge contract (although he has been mentioned in trade chatter recently). But what if Guillen were playing at this level with a measly $1 million contract? Think of the prospects the Royals could net at the deadline with that type of player.

So should the Royals consider re-signing him?

Ultimately, the right answer to the question is the one you screamed at your computer when you read the headline to this article: “NO!”

While Guillen may be an affordable slugger next season, the Royals shouldn’t re-sign him even if he played for free.

And it’s not for any of the reasons listed above. The two reasons to let Jose Guillen ride off into the sunset are much simpler: he won’t help the team win in the long run, and he’s blocking the way for players (particularly Kila Ka’aihue) who could.

Guillen will most likely sign somewhere next year, probably with an American League contender as a DH or a fourth outfielder. He may even have a good season, and the prognosticators with ESPN and Sports Illustrated will shake their heads at the Royals for letting such a great talent slip through their fingers.

But Royals fans will know better.

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