Guillen Agrees to Settlement With Angels

Times Staff Writer

Faced with the realization that he wouldn’t play for the Angels again this season regardless of an arbitrator’s ruling, Jose Guillen agreed to a settlement Friday that enabled the outfielder to recoup almost all of the $109,000 he would have lost during an eight-game suspension but was denied his reinstatement to the team.

Neither Guillen, who was suspended for the rest of the season without pay last Sunday after his petulant reaction to being pulled from a game for a pinch-runner, nor the Angels ruled out the possibility of a return next season. Guillen is signed for 2005 at $3.5 million.

“I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me -- the suspension is not for life,” Guillen said by telephone Friday in his first public comments since the suspension. “It’s going to be a tough decision to make for them, for myself.... I guarantee this: I will be playing next year. Hopefully, it’s for the Angels.”


Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Bill Stoneman said they would “keep the door open” for Guillen, “but we would have to sit down and talk about some things,” Scioscia said. “We recognize what Jose did for us. It’s unfortunate his season ended this way, but it was important for the organization to do this.”

In avoiding a potentially awkward grievance hearing that was scheduled for Friday, the Angels did not have to sit across Guillen and list the transgressions that culminated with the Sept. 25 incident against Oakland, in which Guillen, upon learning he was being replaced by a runner in the eighth inning of a 3-3 game, threw his hands up in the air, walked slowly off the field, tossed his helmet toward Scioscia and slammed his glove into the dugout wall.

Guillen got into a heated argument with Scioscia in the Angel clubhouse afterward, and the following day he was suspended for the rest of the season -- and possible playoffs -- without pay, the Angels describing his actions as “the final straw.”

Guillen, 28, said he apologized to Scioscia and that there were no hard feelings between the two.

It has been suggested Guillen undergo anger-management counseling, but he seemed reluctant to the idea.

“To tell you the truth, everybody makes such a big deal out of this, like I did something real bad, hit somebody, pushed somebody,” Guillen said.


“We’re trying so hard to win the game. That was just part of my behavior, and that’s it.... I know a lot of players who have done a lot worse stuff and are still playing.”

As part of Friday’s agreement, which was negotiated by lawyers for Major League Baseball and the players union, the Angels lifted the portion of the suspension that would have made Guillen ineligible for the postseason.

But the Angels are under no obligation to include Guillen on their playoff roster, and they made it clear to him he would not play for the team again this season.

The Angels also avoided the distraction Guillen might have created had he been reinstated and been in the Angel clubhouse and on the bench for this weekend’s critical season-ending series against the A’s.

“The point was to get a fair settlement,” Stoneman said. “If that was possible, we’d have the advantage of eliminating a distraction.”

In a letter faxed to Southern California media outlets, Guillen, who has had a history of emotional outbursts, one of the reasons he’s playing for his fifth team in four years, apologized to Angel fans, his teammates and the organization.


“My actions were not meant to be disrespectful to the organization, or my teammates,” Guillen wrote. “It was out of my desire to help my team win, and I accept and respect the organization’s decision and will support my teammates in any way possible to bring a championship to Anaheim.”

During an interview, Guillen, who hit .294 with 27 home runs and a career-high 104 runs batted in, said he was extremely disappointed with how his season ended.

“I didn’t want it to happen this way,” Guillen said. “I’ve given my heart to this organization. It’s unfortunate it came down to this, but it’s life. I wish the best to my teammates. I hope we still win, because I’m still part of the organization.... It really cost me a lot, unfortunately.”