- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 20, 2004

Jim Bowden continued to lead the hot stove league in deals yesterday when Washington’s interim general manager acquired power hitter and problem child Jose Guillen in a trade that sent two of the team’s most promising young players — outfielder Juan Rivera and shortstop Maicer Izturis — to the Anaheim Angels.

Bowden said he had coveted Guillen, 28, who batted .294 with 27 home runs and 104 RBI in 148 games for Anaheim last season, since getting his job with the relocated Montreal Expos franchise.

“Two hours before I was introduced, I called Bill [Stoneman, Angels GM] and told him we were interested,” said Bowden, who was seen in talks with Guillen’s agent, Adam Katz, at the general managers meetings last week. “We’ve been working on this for 17 days.”

Bowden, who has known Guillen since their days together when Bowden was the Cincinnati GM and signed Guillen as a minor league free agent in 2002, knew that Guillen would be on the trading block because of an incident last season that resulted in the Angels suspending him for the last eight games and the playoffs.

Guillen, who will be with his eighth major league club in eight seasons, was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of a Sept.25 game against Oakland. When Angels manager Mike Scioscia put in a pinch runner, Guillen stormed into the dugout, tossed his helmet near where Scioscia was standing and threw his glove against the wall.

This was one of several incidents in which Guillen created controversy within the Angels clubhouse. In May, after being hit in the head with a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays, Guillen went on a profanity-laced tirade, complaining that his teammates weren’t retaliating on his behalf.

Those are the incidents that were made public. At the time of the suspension, Stoneman said, “Unfortunately, this was not the first time something has cropped up with Jose.”

Stoneman maintained yesterday the primary season for trading Guillen was to allow Garret Anderson to move back to left field, but he also conceded the outfielder’s attitude was a factor, adding, “I’m not going to deny that the issue had something to do with the trade.”

However, Bowden said that Guillen has since undergone therapy and is continuing with treatment.

“He went through a difficult time, and we feel comfortable that he has learned from it,” Bowden said. “He has completed an anger management course and feels it has helped him.”

Bowden added, “I would trust my children with him. He is a good person, and good people make mistakes. I think people deserve a second chance. He is maturing on the field and off the field.”

Guillen told the Associated Press leaving the Angels “was the best thing that could happen, taking into consideration the way things ended last season between us,. I’m excited to be a part of the Expos and part of history, now that we’ll play in the U.S. capital.”

Guillen gives Washington another run-producing bat in the middle of the lineup. He is the third player Bowden has obtained this week, following third baseman Vinny Castilla and shortstop Cristian Guzman. Between them, Castilla and Guillen had 235 RBI last season.

“You’re always thrilled to add a young, premium player with 30-home run, 100-RBI potential to the middle of a lineup,” Bowden said. “What I especially like about Guillen is that, at the age of 28, his best days are clearly ahead of him.”

Guillen is a career .274 hitter with 110 homers and 458 RBI in 898 games over eight seasons. His best year came in 2003, when he combined to hit .311 with 28 doubles, a career-high 31 homers and 86 RBI in 136 games for Cincinnati and Oakland.

He will earn $3.5million next season, which means Bowden has added nearly $11million to the 2005 payroll — still under the control of Major League Baseball, which owns and operates the relocated Expos and will do so until the team is sold.

To get Guillen, Bowden gave up two highly touted young players. Rivera, 26, hit .307 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI for Montreal after being acquired from the New York Yankees. Izturis, 24, hit .338 with 65 runs, 19 doubles, three homers and 36 RBI for Class AAA Edmonton. He made his major league debut Aug.27 for Montreal and batted .206 with five doubles, two triples and four RBI in 107 at-bats.

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