Is Jose Guillen goin'?
It's been a busy offseason for Jose Guillen despite a contract impasse with the Mariners. Guillen will hear by today whether the team will...
Seattle Times staff reporter
It's been a busy offseason for Jose Guillen despite a contract impasse with the Mariners.
Guillen will hear by today whether the team will accept or decline a mutual one-year, $9 million option for next season. If the Mariners decline, Guillen would receive a $500,000 buyout and become a free agent — though he still hopes to negotiate with Seattle on a possible multi-year deal.
But his ongoing talks with the team aren't what has kept Guillen most busy so far. The 31-year-old outfielder is in his native Dominican Republic and has been helping residents there cope with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Noel. At least 66 people were killed this week and 27 listed as missing after three days of heavy rainfall caused flooding and mudslides throughout the Caribbean country.
"A lot of people were left homeless by this," Guillen said in a phone interview from his home in Santo Domingo. "Many of them were very poor to begin with and didn't have much. But after the floods, they were left with nothing and are living in the street."
Guillen has spent money to buy food for some of those displaced by the floods. He has offered to play for free next month for the Tigres del Licey team in the Dominican Winter League. In exchange, he wants the team to pitch in and pay for food and needed supplies.
"I'm just trying to do what I can," he said. "My place was fine, but where my mother lives, over in San Cristobal, the bridge collapsed. Luckily, there was nobody on it at the time, but a lot of homes near there have been damaged. There are so many people who need something, and there isn't enough to go around."
More than 62,000 people have been driven from their homes and thousands of homes were swept away by floodwaters. Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declared a state of emergency on Wednesday night and asked international financial institutions to lend his country $200 million to repair roads and collapsed bridges.
Guillen spent much of Tuesday running around to the homes of family members, ensuring they were safe and that there was no extensive property damage. He was out again Wednesday, but spent Thursday at his home watching movies and waiting for the Mariners to tell him what they were doing with his mutual option.
Under terms of Guillen's contract, the team had up to five days after the World Series — ending today — to accept or decline the option. If the team accepts, Guillen would have to agree to the option or could choose to decline and forfeit the buyout money.
Guillen wouldn't comment on his intentions, but it seems highly unlikely he would accept a one-year deal. He has made it clear for months that he wants a multi-year offer and the numbers he put up — a .290 batting average, 23 homers and 99 runs batted in — make it very likely he'd get a two- or three-year deal at roughly $10 million per annum on the open market.
"I can tell you one thing," he said. "I really want to come back. I've been saying that all along. Seattle is one place where I've really felt comfortable playing and I'd like to stay there a long time. But it's out of my hands now."
• Longtime Chicago White Sox scout Duane Shaffer has been hired by the Mariners as a special assistant to general manager Bill Bavasi. Shaffer's new role will primarily involve professional and amateur scouting, as well as any special assignment work Bavasi designates.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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