Infielder Carlos Guillen, who began his major-league career with the Mariners in 1998, has signed a minor-league deal with Seattle that includes an invitation to spring training.
Carlos Guillen will get one more crack with the Mariners eight years after the team jump-started his career by trading him away.
At age 36, the three-time All-Star infielder agreed to a minor-league deal with the Mariners on Wednesday that will pay him a base salary of $1 million if he makes the club out of spring training and incentive bonuses based on plate appearances. The Mariners hope to use Guillen — who will wear the same No. 8 he previously did with Seattle — in a corner infield utility role, similar to what Adam Kennedy provided the squad last season.
Guillen became a cornerstone with the Detroit Tigers after a January 2004 trade to Motown for infielders Ramon Santiago and Juan Gonzalez. He hit .318 with 20 homers and 97 runs batted in for Detroit that year, the career breakout he’d been looking for after parts of five mostly uneventful seasons with Seattle.
His upturn coincided with rising fortunes for the Tigers, who went to the World Series in 2006. Guillen hit .320 with 19 homers and 85 RBI that year and finished in the top 10 in league MVP voting.
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The trade became known as one of the best made by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, but Guillen’s fortunes tumbled after knee, leg and arm injuries in 2009.
He appeared in only 177 games for Detroit the past three seasons in finishing off a four-year, $48 million contract extension. Depending on his health, he could see considerable playing time for a club in need of more offense. Guillen played five different positions in Detroit, including shortstop, but his injury history could limit any action at skill spots up the middle. The Mariners have Chone Figgins and Kyle Seager pegged for utility roles already, though Guillen offers more raw power.