October 5 – Happy Birthday Aaron Guiel

guielOK, this one is bugging me. How come I have absolutely no recollection of today’s  Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant playing for the Yankees, nothing, zero nada! Heck, if I can vividly remember the brief Yankee careers of  guys like Jack Reed, Marty Perez and Chris Widger, why do I draw such a blank on Aaron Guiel?

After all, it was just seven seasons ago, in 2006 that this short and stocky native Canadian played 33 games for my favorite team, split almost evenly as an outfielder and first baseman. The Yankees had picked him up off the waiver wire that July after his first and only other big league team, the Royals had put him there. That 2006 season was a particularly harsh one on Yankee outfielders. Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui both were shelved for most of the year with major injuries.

Guiel had spent his first four-and-a-half big league seasons as Kansas City’s fourth outfielder, averaging .246 during that span. He had decent power, as was evidenced by the career-high 15 homers he had hit for KC in 2003. At first, New York assigned him to their Triple A Columbus affiliate but when Johnny Damon strained a muscle in his back, the Yankees called Guiel (pronounced Guy-el) up.

He scored three runs in his pinstriped debut against Cleveland and in his first start at Yankee Stadium a week later, his first home run as a Bronx Bomber was the difference maker in a 6-5 win versus the White Sox. New York skipper, Joe Torre played him pretty regularly that first month, but when the Yanks completed their trade for Bobby Abreu from the Phillies at the end of July, Guiel was sent back to Columbus. He didn’t stay there long.

He was called back up two weeks later. Since the Yanks ran away with the AL East Division race that year, winning it by ten full games over second-place Toronto, Torre rested his regular outfielders as much as possible down the stretch and Guiel saw plenty of action as a result. That’s why it bothers me that I have no recollection of him playing for the Yankees. I guess because he did not make that year’s postseason roster and the Yanks ended up releasing him, the  44 games he played for New York just faded from my memory. Those ended up being the final 44 games of Guiel’s big league career.

In 2007, he signed to play for the Yakult Swallows, in Japan’s Central League and played there for the next five seasons. Guiel shares his birthday with this other former Yankee outfielder and this one-time Yankee utility infielder.

2006 33 NYY AL 44 92 82 16 21 3 0 4 11 2 7 20 .256 .337 .439 .776
5 Yrs 307 1099 970 151 239 58 0 35 128 8 83 218 .246 .322 .414 .736
KCR (5 yrs) 263 1007 888 135 218 55 0 31 117 6 76 198 .245 .320 .412 .733
NYY (1 yr) 44 92 82 16 21 3 0 4 11 2 7 20 .256 .337 .439 .776
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/5/2013.

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