Nats' Soriano, Guillen try to ignore trade talk

Updated: July 18, 2006, 3:35 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

MIAMI -- With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, trade rumors that Jose Guillen and Alfonso Soriano are playing their last games in a Washington Nationals uniform are increasing by the minute.

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The Mariners are the latest team to make a run at Alfonso Soriano, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. Their interest is serious enough that the Nationals have two scouts at Seattle's game in New York on Monday night, along with a third watching the Mariners' Triple-A team play in Tacoma.

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Far from worrying about the buzz, Guillen and Soriano have opted to ignore the rumors and focus on playing.

"I keep on coming to the stadium every day focused on having a great day on each game. Time will tell if I will stay in Washington or will be traded somewhere else," Soriano told ESPNdeportes.com before Monday's game against the Florida Marlins in Miami.

"I want to stay with the Nationals. I don't want to go anywhere, but I know baseball is a business and trades are common, especially at this point of the season," said Guillen.

The two players have drawn interest from teams fighting for a playoff berth, including the New York Yankees, where Soriano played the first four years of his career. Guillen's mother lives in the Bronx.

"It doesn't matter if it's the Yankees or any other team. I am just a man who does his job wherever he is sent," said Soriano.

"I think that general manager Jim Bowden would inform me with a window of time if the Nationals were to trade me. At this point, they haven't [told] me anything," said Guillen.

Selling their most expensive players is probably the best option for the Nationals (39-54), currently last place in the NL East.

Soriano and Guillen, who could become free agents after the World Series, have gone different ways production wise.

Soriano, 30, is batting .282 with 29 home runs, 23 stolen bases, 59 RBI and 66 runs scored.

A three time All Star as a second baseman in the American League, Soriano was the starting left outfielder for the National League All Star team last week.

"I think now I have more value as a player because I have proved that I can play and produce good numbers in two different positions," said Soriano.

Guillen, who averaged 27 homers and 88 RBI from 2003 to 2005, had a disappointing first half of the season (injuries had to do with it), in which he batted for .215 with nine home runs and 39 RBI.

The Dominican was on the disabled list in May and June with injuries to his thigh and wrist.

"A lot of things have happened, but everyone knows the kind of ballplayer I am when I am healthy."

"I have faith that I will return to my level in the second half of the season," said the 30-year-old Guillen.

Washington acquired shortstop Felipe Lopez and outfielder Austin Kearns last week from Cincinnati, a trade that many considered to be the catapult for Soriano's or Guillen's, or even both players' exit.

"I am pleased with what I have done to this moment, and I think I can keep on doing the same for another team," said Soriano.

"I have been traded three times and cut twice in my career, so nothing surprises me," said Guillen, who has played for Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Arizona, Oakland, Anaheim and Washington in his 10-year career.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.