Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jose Guillen: Distraction?

There is a fine line between an intensely competitive player who challenges his teammates and one who is so disruptive that he becomes an unwanted distraction. For much of the season we regarded Jose Guillen as the heart and soul of the team. He seemed the successor to Frank Robinson's combative and ultra competitive personality. When the Nationals needed to step up to a new level in June, Jose Guillen led them there.

But we're not sure that Guillen has remained a productive presence in the locker room. Barry Svrluga's game article both recounts Guillen's outburst last night in which he littered the field with equipment and suggests that Guillen may have become a distraction to the team. Combined with his run-ins with Brad Wilkerson, Esteban Loaiza, and Brian Schneider, this latest episode hints at a clubhouse problem.

There is really no way for any of us to know whether Guillen has crossed this line, because only someone in the clubhouse every day can understand the effect of Guillen's conduct and how the players regard it. We do know, however, that Guillen and his antics are now the subject of a lot of discussion both within the locker room and in the media. That's not good.

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