Friday, January 09, 2004

Shortstop Shuffle Complete 

Rich Aurilia signs for 1 year, $3.5 M
Carlos Guillen heads to Detroit
2 pre-Cal Ripken-era shortstops come back to Seattle.

First, let me say that I am very happy to have Rich Aurilia over Carlos Guillen. Guillen's DUI incident soured me on him, and the fact that after the incident he was still seen partying with Mr. Freddy Garcia bothered me even more. I have no fond Carlos Guillen memory in my head, feel free to barrage my email with yours. He was an average shortstop who M's management had decided to change to a veteran to help provide leadership and hopefully a little more pop.

Most of the M's pessimists will argue that Aurilia had only one good year, 2001, when he popped 37 home runs and that really he provides no significant upgrade to Aurilia and costs a million dollars more. But in my research, he seems to provide a significant upgrade at little additional cost. So here are Five Reasons to like Rich Aurilia over Carlos Guillen

5. Durability. Aurilia has averaged 550 ABs over past 3 years while Guillen has averaged 430 ABs. Less of Luis Ugueto, Willie Bloomquist and 2003 Mark McLemore as starters is a very good thing.
4. Contract Comparison. If Guillen reached 550 ABs this year, he would make $3.2M dollars so really their contracts are nearly a wash. Aurilia's is $3.15 million with 350,000 in PA incentives. Both players are free agents after the year is up. Aurilia claims he *wanted* a one-year contract to prove how much he could be worth. "A one-year deal for me should be added incentive to have a good year," he said. I love guys willing to put up or shut up. I don't understand why this is reported as a 3.5M vs. 2.5M players unless everyone EXPECTS that Guillen will not reach 450 PAs to kick in his incentives, and know that Aurilia will reach his.
3. 3 year splits show power we need: Aurilia = .288/.335/.472 vs. Guillen = .265/.338/.391 Similar average and OBP, but much more power. Aurilia hits lefties with POWER. This is a general team weakness exacerbated by a Colbrunn-less bench. What's not to like about an upgrade from Guillen's 3 year .262/.319/.372 line vs lefties to Aurilia's .283/.329/.531.
2. Maturity. A lot has been made over Aurilia being 4 years older than Carlos, but 32 is not close to the years of imminent decline for hitters, and he shows more maturity than Guillen in his interviews and lifestyle. Carlos has never been a team leader, and I really can't remember ever seeing an interview with him. I've mainly heard stories of him acting as Freddy's wingman while partying at Jillian's. Aurilia at least is known for being emotional during games which will hopefully give the M's clubhouse a little more life than it had last year. "They're probably looking for me to bring a little fire," Aurilia said. "You'll see I play with emotion."
1. No second-half swoon from Aurilia. A look at Carlos' numbers pre All-Star Break and post, show that he has been a significant contributor to the M's annual second half swoon. An OPS of .745 pre and .682 after (including a horrific .602 in August) over the last three years points a glaring finger at Guillen. Aurillia is a rock, 805 pre and 810 post-ASB shows his steadiness.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?