I wrote this on August 2nd of 2011. Going into that day, he was batting .195 with 7 extra base hits and only 1 home run. He missed the first month and a half with his intestinal disorder, then he had just a HORRENDOUS two and a half months at the plate as he tried to regain his strength and stamina for Major League Baseball.
I wrote that plea on August 2nd, then he proceeded to bat .297 for the rest of the month, with 6 doubles. By no means are those Ruthian numbers, but it was a sign of life from a guy struggling just to stay above water. He played in 4 more games in September before he was shut down with an oblique strain, which admittedly isn’t great for the cause.
Part of me still believes in Guti. Part of me dreads that we’ll trade him and another team is going to reap the rewards of a .300 hitter who’s also the best defensive centerfielder in the game. That same part of me dreads that we’re going to give him up for pennies on the dollar because our trading partner will be buying low on a high-upside guy who has proven to be an effective player in the Big Leagues.
Look, I understand the deck is stacked against him. He’s got that intestinal condition and who knows if/when THAT is going to flare up again! He’s already slight of build, so you have to wonder if this oblique strain isn’t a byproduct of him potentially being injury-prone. He’s shown in every season he’s been in the Big Leagues that he fades down the stretch (another possible byproduct of him being so damn frail?). And, to top it all off, he’s going to be earning a healthy paycheck the next two years; a healthy paycheck that could be better used to put towards someone like Prince Fielder, perhaps.
If your endgame is to throw wheelbarrows full of money at someone like Prince Fielder, then I guess you have no choice. You can’t afford to be paying someone like Guti upwards of $7 million per season if he’s going to give you what he’s given you the past two seasons. You’re better served paying the minimum to someone like Trayvon Robinson, who will – in all likelihood – give you exactly what you’ve gotten from Guti.
But, I dunno. I dunno because I’ve seen what Guti is capable of at his best. In April of 2010, he was absolutely CARRYING this team. Batting .326, 8 extra-base hits, 13 RBI … I know it’s a small sample, but his numbers didn’t start dropping dramatically until the summer, when it was evident he was affected by his condition.
I don’t think we’re going to have Guti for much longer; I think it’s a terrible longshot for him to even show up for Spring Training. It’s too bad, but that’s the business aspect of this game. You can’t do what he’s done at the plate – regardless of any physical ailments – while making the money he’s made and believe you’re going to stick with that team. Still, I’m a fan of Guti’s. I’m a fan of anyone who’s an elite defensive genius, but I thought Guti was special. I still DO think he’s special.
And I think he’ll reveal to his next team all of those gifts that drew in the fans from Seattle. He may not be an MVP-calibre All Star, but I could see him being a very-effective piece to a World Series champion.