Mariners decline option on Guillen

Mariners decline option on Guillen

SEATTLE -- Right fielder Jose Guillen, one of the clubhouse leaders who helped the Seattle Mariners surpass a .500 record last season for the first time since 2003, likely will not return to the club in 2008.

The Mariners announced Friday that Guillen, who hit .290 with 23 home runs and 99 RBIs, will not have his 2008 option picked up. He had signed a one-year deal with Seattle last winter with a club and player option for next season.

Guillen, 31, ranked second in the American League against left-handed pitching in batting average (.362) and set a club record by getting hit by a pitch 19 times. He can still exercise his player option, but the club is not required to accept it.

Also, the club option for right-handed reliever Chris Reitsma was not picked up. Reitsma, 29, appeared in just 26 games last season -- going 0-2 with a 7.61 ERA -- as inflammation in his right elbow prevented his use over the final two months. He was on the disabled list three times. He had signed a one-year deal with a club option for 2008.

"In Jose's case, this puts the ball in his court," said general manager Bill Bavasi. "He can choose to exercise his option with us, or to go to free agency. With both players, if it becomes apparent that they're a good fit for us in 2008, we can still negotiate with them as free agents."

The moves open up two spots on the 40-man roster to give the club flexibility as the free-agent season begins.

Guillen's departure also opens up an outfield spot for promising prospect Adam Jones. Jones, who was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 6, hit .241 with two home runs and four RBIs in a limited role with the big club.

The club (88-74 last season) believes Jones is ready to be a full-time player.

Meanwhile, Dan Evans, who had spent the past three seasons as the special assistant to Bavasi, has accepted a job as president and CEO of West Coast Sports Management LLC.

Evans, 47, served in various roles for the club, such as scouting free agents and players sought in trades. He also had a role in the scouting of amateur players in advance of the June Draft.

Evans, a former GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has completed 27 years in professional baseball. He also worked in the Chicago White Sox and Cubs systems.

West Coast Sports Management, based in Pasadena, Calif., helps professional baseball players become accomplished athletes and successful business people.

The club already has Evans' replacement in place. On Thursday, Duane Shaffer was hired as special assistant to the executive vice president of baseball operations, player personnel.

Like Evans, Shaffer's primary responsibility will be professional and amateur scouting coverage and will also be available for special projects, as needed.

Shaffer, who was the White Sox senior director of amateur scouting last season, had served in various roles with the Sox for the past 35 years. He also had a three-year stint (1988-90) in the Oakland A's organization.

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.