Carlos Guillen, who signed a minor-league contract with the Mariners on February 1, announced his retirement today.
Guillen had a remarkable career, transitioning from light-hitting shortstop to an impact bat who played all over the diamond, but injuries limited him to just 81, 68, and 28 mostly ineffective games during the past three seasons.
He calls it quits at age 36 after playing 14 seasons in the majors, including two huge years for the Tigers in 2004 (.318 with 20 homers and a .921 OPS) and 2006 (.320 with 19 homers and a .920 OPS).
Overall the switch-hitting Guillen batted .285 with a .355 on-base percentage and .443 slugging percentage in 1,305 games for the Mariners and Tigers. Among all active hitters with at least 5,000 career plate appearances he ranks 32nd in adjusted OPS+ at 111, alongside Alfonso Soriano (112), Andruw Jones (111), and Adrian Beltre (110).
He made three All-Star teams and earned $70 million. Not a bad career for a guy who was second-best prospect (behind Freddy Garcia) traded from the Astros to the Mariners for Randy Johnson in 1998.
UPDATE: Guillen talked about his decision with Greg Johns of MLB.com:
It’s a tough decision. I tried to come back, but I couldn’t. I’ve been through a lot of injuries. You have to keep your head up and be in the right position to keep going. But at this time, your body tells you, you know? It’s hard because you only make this decision one time in your career and in your life.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.