Writing in yesterday’s KC Star, Joe Posnaski cites his prior support of Royals GM Dayton Moore (“every move he made, it seems, I liked it”), a campaign that ended with this week’s signing of free agent Jose Guillen. “And it™s like I don™t know this Dayton Moore man at all anymore.”
I do understand why the Royals spent $12 million bucks a year for an almost 32-year-old outfielder with diminishing power numbers and, allegedly, a $19,000 steroid and human growth hormone bill between 2002 and 2005. The Royals signed him because they hit just 102 home runs last year, dead last in all of baseball, and I mean dead last, 16 home runs behind 29th-place Minnesota. They hit fewer home runs than Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder hit combined. All year long, this team was like a cell phone on its third day of battery.
So they needed some pop, and frankly, they picked a bad time to look for home-run hitters. The premier power hitter of this free-agent class was Torii Hunter, who will turn 32 next year and wasn™t exactly Harmon Killebrew. He has hit 30-plus homers once in his career. Teams ” including the Royals ” bid on Hunter like he was a front-row seat to Hannah Montana. He eventually signed a five-year, $90 million deal, one of those deals that must make Willie Mays want to lock himself in his house and never come out.
Anyway, after Hunter signed, there wasn™t much power left out there. The Royals and Moore aimed for Guillen because they saw him as the next-best thing. Guillen has hit 20-plus homers four of the last five years. He has played in tough hitters™ parks, too, so there™s the hope that he can really hit well at Kauffman Stadium (which is a good hitters™ park, though a tough homer park). He hit 23 homers last year, and as far as I know, nobody has found a bill suggesting that he bought performance-enhancing drugs last year.
My problem is that Jose Guillen is on his ninth major-league team in 10 years, he strikes out three times more often than he walks, he can™t run, he™s no more than an average outfielder, and, most of all, he™s going to be 32 years old in May, the precise age when, history has shown time and again, players like Jose Guillen begin their descent.
Even worse than Posnaski recalling the Royals’ signing of Kevin McReynolds, ESPN reported today that Guillen is likely to be suspended for as many as 15 games next season for his alleged purchase of steroids and human growth hormone.