12/6/07 - Signed OF Jose Guillen to a three-year contract; Selected LHP Ray Liotta from the White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.
12/4/07 -Released RHP Colby Lewis.
So, after everything, thats what we're left with for now: Ray Liotta and the culmination of a deal that had seemingly been in the making for months, if not years. The Winter Meetings made life briefly better than it had been, but still failed to live up to expectations. So in other words, they were like everything else.
To comment on Guillen almost seems passe at this point, as we've now been debating his merits with some intensity for a month, and there's nothing much to say at this point. I think overall, perhaps because of his personality, perhaps because of his world-wide travels, he's a generally underrated hitter, at least at some ill-defined level of the public mind. Since his age 27 breakout with the Reds, he's posted OPS+s of 142, 121, 116, 75 and 116. Basically, he's an evil Reggie Sanders, circa 2003, that is to say, before Reggie Sanders went from "damn, this guy's numbers are actually impressive even though I have no memory of ever seeing him play" to "Reggie Sanders will give you solid production in the outfield". Maybe all he needs is a chance to settle down, to bathe in the healing waters of the state of Missouri and build up some familiarity with the chattering classes. By the time Sanders was done in St. Louis he was almost a borderline HOF candidate, or so it seemed, although the Royals don't tend to produce rampant over-glorification the way the Redbird Nationities do.
As for the terms of the deal, its a perfect Jose Guillen contract; only vaguely interesting. The money is high at a superficial level, but when you adjust for the baseball world as its now constituted, its actually reasonable. And three years isn't the end of the world. Yea, it'd be better if it was shorter, but would you rather he have gotten five? Sure, we're buying a portion of his decline, but thats what all the cool kids do now, and his is probably preferable to Emil Brown's.
As with every move the Royals make, the only real matter of concern is this: will this deal prevent other, better deals from getting made? And really, we have no way of knowing that. Positionally, the answer seems no -- although I would have been fine with giving Huber/Costa/Someone Else a shot for a season, then signing a COF in next year's superior class -- which brings us back to the eternal question around these parts regarding ownership and money. My cynical side would say that we've merely gone from being misers to be being hyper, over-aggressive consumers in an incredibly circumscribed way that tries to scream "I'm alive" but instead only mutters "I'm a sad person." The Royals are a sixty year old retiree who hoarded everything she made for a lifetime who is now at Vegas, gambling $100s and calling back home every hour to talk about it.
Now, if the Royals are players next year, and if the Royals continue to invest in player development, draftee bonuses and all the rest, then we all sit back and say, "no big deal". Problem is, we're all so beaten down and half-expect a Dutton story in the Star next August headlined "Disappointed Glass May Put Hold on Spending".
So in sum, the Guillen signing is nice, but doesn't exactly change anything. Will the Meche Era end in glory? That remains to be seen.