Guillen option declined
At least Jose Guillen was in good humor over a move that very likely spells the end of his Mariners career. Guillen was pleasantly surprised...
Seattle Times staff reporter
At least Jose Guillen was in good humor over a move that very likely spells the end of his Mariners career.
Guillen was pleasantly surprised Friday when told the Mariners had declined a one-year, $9 million option on him for next season. The right fielder admits he had no intention of signing a one-year pact and would have declined the option in order to seek a longer free-agent contract.
But now the Mariners have to pay Guillen a $500,000 buyout clause, which he would have forfeited had the option been picked up by the team and then declined by him.
"They just gave me a half-million for no reason," he said from his home in the Dominican Republic, adding he has no hard feelings toward the Mariners. "Maybe I can go buy two new cars with the half-million. You can thank [general manager] Bill Bavasi for me."
Despite Bavasi and Guillen both saying Friday's move does not rule out a future deal between them, the buyout money in this case speaks louder than words. That the Mariners would pay $500,000 to avoid the almost-nonexistent risk of Guillen accepting a one-year deal — for roughly the same $9 million he made this past season in salary and bonuses — suggests he no longer fits in their plans.
It was a busy day for the Mariners, who now know that Larry Bowa will not accept their offer to become Seattle's third-base coach. Bowa instead is expected to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
"He's a friend of mine," Mariners manager John McLaren said. "It didn't work out."
McLaren said he's finalizing a deal with an another candidate and could have an announcement today.
The Mariners also declined a $2.7 million option on oft-injured relief pitcher Chris Reitsma, who received a $700,000 buyout and is now a free agent. Seattle can still negotiate exclusively with both Reitsma and Guillen the next 11 days.
"Declining the options on Jose [Guillen] and Chris [Reitsma] gives us more flexibility as we plan our 2008 roster," Bavasi said.
"In Jose's case, this puts the ball in his court. He can choose to exercise his option with us or go to free agency. With both players, if it becomes apparent that they're a good fit for us in 2008, we can still negotiate with them as free agents."
Guillen still has a lesser player option with Seattle for one year and $5 million, which he could exercise in the next five days.
But Guillen has no intention of doing that. He hit .290 last season with 23 home runs and 99 runs batted in and figures he could land a multiyear deal worth roughly $10 million per season on the open market.
"No doubt, I'm going to decline everything," he said.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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