One of the most underrated players of this generation has announced his retirement. A three time All Star, Carlos Guillen officially announced his retirement on twitter earlier today. Guillen had signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners one month ago. Retiring in Seattle brings Guillen’s career back to its roots, as he made his major league debut withSeattle way back in 1998.
Guillen was originally signed by the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent in 1992. He was traded along with Mike Cameron and Freddy Garcia to the Mariners for Randy Johnson. Guillen was a solid player for the M’s, but he didn’t really break out until he was traded to the Detroit Tigers. In 8 seasons with the Tigers, Guillen owns an 842 OPS, which is pretty impressive for a player who spent most of his time at shortstop.
Guillen ends his career with a career 285/355/443 line (11% above league average), 124 homers, 660 RBI, 74 steals while earning 26.7 fWAR. His best season was 2006 where he posted a 920 OPS and ranked 10th in MVP voting. There’s a pretty good argument that Guillen was one of the 5 best players in the American League in 2006, as his 6.2 fWAR ranked him fourth in the AL. Often injured during his career, Guillen managed to play in more than 145 games only twice in his career. Those nagging injuries robbed him of his power and speed later in his career, forcing him to move off of shortstop for good in 2008.
While Guillen was never a superstar, he was an above average player when he was healthy, and a critical part of the Tigers World Series squad back in 2006. Unfortunately Guillen was never healthy enough to make a significant impact, likely cementing his status as one of the most underrated stars of this generation. It’s sad to see a player like Guillen go, but it’s never easy to watch former stars have to settle for a minor league deal.