Reds continue to unload players

CINCINNATI -- The Oakland Athletics bulked up their outfield
by getting Jose Guillen from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for
right-hander Aaron Harang and two minor league pitchers.

Wed., July 30

The story about the Jose Guillen trade says this has been "a breakout season" for Guillen, which is a little bit like saying Bull Durham is Kevin Costner's best movie. Entering this season, Guillen had played 614 games in the major leagues, and his OBP was barely above .300 while his slugging percentage was barely short of .400. When you're a 26-year-old right fielder in the 21st century, those numbers aren't nearly good enough.

And yet, here he is in late July with a .385 OBP and a .629 slugging percentage. Is Jose Guillen for real? The A's must think that the new Guillen is the real Guillen, which is interesting because they're also hoping that the new Miguel Tejada and the new Scott Hatteberg aren't the real things.

Guillen was the Reds' top hitter, filling in during Ken Griffey
Jr.'s two serious injuries. He was hitting .337 -- third in the
National League -- with 23 homers and 63 RBI in 91 games.

Manager Ken Macha explained why the A's made the move Wednesday on GameNight on ESPNRadio.

Macha said, "We lost Jermaine Dye earlier this year and we've been kinda mixing and matching in the outfield to get the right combination, and we felt we needed to bolster the lineup, preferably with an outfielder.

"We're looking at putting him in rightfield and move Terrence (Long) over to left, and probably have a combination in center with Eric Byrnes getting the most time there."

The A's felt they needed a more productive outfield to pull off
another one of their second-half surges and overtake Seattle in the
AL West. Oakland is second-to-last in the league in batting

Eric Byrnes was the only consistent outfielder in the first
half, but he started to tail off after the All-Star break. Chris
Singleton, signed to a one-year contract in the offseason, lost his
job and has been on the bench.

"We needed a big bat,'' manager Billy Beane said. "I think
you'd be hard-pressed to find another guy that's better than him
right now.''

The 27-year-old Guillen is going to his fifth team in seven
years. He finally started living up to expectations in Cincinnati,
but bristled at his backup role when Griffey was healthy enough to

"I appreciate the Reds giving me a new life, so I could show
people I can still play every day,'' Guillen said. "I would just
love to stay here. I haven't felt so comfortable in a long time.''

He was comfortable, but not always happy. When Griffey returned
from a dislocated shoulder in May, Guillen demanded a trade rather
than returning to a backup role. Guillen also threw three bats
against a clubhouse wall in June after learning he wasn't in the
starting lineup that day.

Guillen couldn't move ahead of Griffey, Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns. He was interested in staying in Cincinnati next season, but
not as a backup. The Reds decided to trade him rather than letting
him leave as a free agent and getting nothing in return.

One might think this is bad news for Guillen fantasy owners, but it's not. Guillen actually had better numbers away from Cincy's hitter's park than he did at home. In Oakland he'll fit right in behind Miguel Tejada and possibly Erubiel Durazo, and his production should take no hit. This guy is on pace for 35 homers and 96 RBI. As for replacing Guillen in an NL league, it won't be easy; he is currently the No. 15 ranked outfielder in fantasy, and that's after seeing little time in April. Something that should not be forgotten: Harang had terrific minor league numbers and could be a valuable starting pitcher for the Reds.
Here's all the fantasy spins in one place.
--Eric Karabell

The A's also sent the Reds right-handers Joe Valentine and Jeff Bruksch.

"Several clubs were interested in him,'' scouting director
Leland Maddox said. "It was a matter of getting the best package
we could put together of guys who are ready for the major leagues.
The theme is pitching, pitching, pitching.''

It was the Reds' second trade in two days since they fired
general manager Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone. The Reds sent
closer Scott Williamson to Boston late Tuesday night for prospects.

The trade of Williamson stunned the clubhouse. Guillen's trade
was no surprise -- he had packed up belongings in the clubhouse this
week, hoping to leave.

As the rest of the players put on their game uniforms for the
annual team photo on Wednesday, Guillen stayed in T-shirt and

"What do you think?'' he said. "It makes no sense to go
outside and take a picture.''

He eventually suited up and was the last one to join the team
photo. Afterward, he sat in front of the dugout and did a
television interview while the rest of the team did the mandatory
pregame stretch. Several teammates called for him to join them, but
he ignored them.

Five minutes into the interview, a teammate hit him in the face
with a paper plate slathered with shaving cream. Guillen wiped it
away and kept on doing the interview while his teammates worked

An hour after he had his picture taken as part of the 2003 Reds,
he got word that he was traded.

The Reds activated outfielder Wily Mo Pena off the 15-day
disabled list to take Guillen's spot. Pena went only 3-for-35
(.068) with 15 strikeouts and started only two games before the

Pena, 21, was on the roster solely because Bowden didn't want to
risk losing him if they put him on waivers to send him to the

Harang opened the season at Triple-A Sacramento, went 7-2 with a
2.38 ERA, then was called up. He was 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA in seven
games before he was sent back to the minors. He was assigned to
Triple-A Louisville.

Valentine was 1-3 with a 4.82 ERA and four saves for Sacramento,
and might have been in line to be a closer with the A's someday.
Bruksch was 10-8 with a 5.13 ERA in 23 starts for Class-A Modesto.

"This year, we really have guys that are untouchable, and we
weren't going to trade guys just to trade,'' Beane said. "This
wasn't a painless trade, but it was pretty easy.''

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.