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Thursday, January 08, 2004

What's the Holdup in the Aurillia Deal? 

ESPN said several days ago that the Mariners were very close to signing Rich Aurillia to a one-year deal worth about $4 million. It was also said that if they did this, Carlos Guillen would almost definitely be traded to either the Tigers or the Rockies. I haven't heard anything for a couple of days now, so maybe it's all off. Still, it's a more interesting idea than anything else Goat Boy has done so far.

I've always thought of Guillen as a better than average shortstop with the potential to make an All-Star team or two someday. But the Mariners think he's a bum. At least it seems that way. I guess there's no way to know whether they're really going out of their way to get rid of him this offseason, or it's a case of other teams seeing Guillen as desirable and attainable and going after him.

Anyway, I think Aurillia would likely be an offensive upgrade over Guillen, though probably not by a whole lot. Even if Guillen continues to improve slowly and Aurillia contnues to decline, Aurillia will still probably be a better hitter than Guillen in 2004. Having performed well in pitcher-friendly Pac Bell Park, he seems unlikely to suffer any dramatic decline due to the move to Safeco. Defensively, this would be another downgrade.

My take is, go ahead and sign Aurillia for a year. But for God's sake, play him at third.

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