Seattle Mariners infielder Carlos Guillen -- who had yet to play in Spring Training as he battled with nagging knee injuries -- announced his retirement from major league baseball this morning.
The 36-year-old Guillen had returned to the Mariners, with whom he spent six years at the beginning of his career, by signing a minor league contract that included an invite to Spring Training on February 1st, but the knees had prevented him from seeing any game action. His knees had ailed him for several years in Detroit and he had microfracture surgery on his left knee at the beginning of the 2011 season.
Guillen's Seattle history has him tied to both one of the most- and one of the least-fondly remembered events in the Safeco Field era for the Mariners. He was the starting shortstop for the 116-win club in 2001 and executed the perfect squeeze bunt the fall prior to score the winning run in the deciding game and push the M's past the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS. Following the 2003 season, Guillen was dealt by GM Bill Bavasi to the Detriot Tigers for a minor league pitcher and infielder Ramon Santiago...who was later released and returned to Detriot.
Guillen -- who saw 899 of his 1,169 career starts at shortstop or second base -- went on to be an All-Star for Detroit in three of the next five seasons by posting a 127 OPS+ while the Mariners struggled to get any offense from their middle infield positions. Many of Seattle's fans count trading away Guillen as one of Bavasi's worst moves as the club's GM.
Among Mariners, Guillen ranks 13th in OBP, 25th in SLG and 21st in OPS in team history among players with at least as many plate appearances as Guillen. For his major league career, Guillen was a .285/.355/.443 hitter with 1,331 hits, 124 home runs, 660 RBI and 74 stolen bases in 1,305 games with Seattle and Detroit. He won a World Series title with the Tigers in 2006.
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