Been out to a Royals game lately? If so, you know that outfielder Jose Guillen — that erstwhile slugger signed by the team to a ridiculous 3-year, $36 million contract — is hardly living up to his reputation. What he is doing, though, is coming clean about his personal regret over his sorry performance. See, he doesn’t deserve the money he’s making if he’s going to play like this. And he’s the first to admit it — right before he lulls you into a “suck”-tinged hypnosis:
“I hate making excuses,” he said. “If I suck, then I suck. And I suck. That’s the way I’m playing. If you suck, you suck. You have to take responsibility in this game. Right now, that’s the way I feel.
“Yes, I suck.”
To sum up: there’s some sucking going on. Which seems obvious. But the bigger question is this: if athletes can load their contracts with all kinds of performance incentives, can the organization actually demand the return of money if a player does not live up to expectations? (See “Jones, Andruw.”) Put another way: will Jose now offer to buy tickets for everyone that doesn’t make $12 million a year? Well… very nearly so.
“Sometimes, I feel I should take money out of my own pocket and buy tickets for every fan. Because you know what? For a $12-million man, these are not the numbers you should be expecting. I admit it. I’m not playing to my potential.”
Aha! Sometimes he wants to. Of course, we’re guessing that if that time arrived, he’d cave. As for the mystery of Jose’s lack of production: is it really such a mystery? Take a look at Jose’s career stats. Average in 2003? .311. 2004? .294. Every year since has seen a decline, starting in 2005. OBP and slugging have also taken a nose dive. Gee… what else started in 2005 that could possibly explain a drop in offensive production?