Franklin Gutierrez On The Seattle Mariners Radar

Will M’s Bring Injury Plagued Outfielder Back?

Reports broke over the weekend that the Seattle Mariners are considering bringing often injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez back to the team.

The potential move certainly is an interesting one for the M’s considering they have four major league caliber outfielders on their roster right now in Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson, Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano.  Also on the roster is utility man Willie Bloomquist who is fully capable of playing the outfield as well.

All of those guys you have to expect are going to make the M’s 25 man roster which forces you to ask the question–  What exactly are the Mariners thinking when it comes to Gutierrez?

Franklin Gutierrez

Brining Guti back could add depth to the organization (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Gutierrez has a huge pile of injuries to his credit that have taken a serious toll his baseball career.  The injuries include a strained oblique, hamstring issues, concussions, and the most serious- an ongoing gastrointestinal problem that has defied doctors’ abilities to even diagnose.

Gutierrez’s playing time dwindled to nothing in 2014 after being re-signed by the M’s.  A relapse of his mysterious gastrointestinal problem forced him to miss the entire season.  Even before then, his playing time was limited.

In 2013 Gutierrez appeared in just 41 games.  In 2012 it was just 40 games.  In 2011 he was a bit healthier an managed 92 games.  Gutierrez last played a full season (152 games) way back in 2010.

With all of that missed time, what are the Mariners thinking here?  The answer is they are thinking about his great defense and his reasonable productive, right handed bat.  At least that would be my guess.

Franklin’s bat may have played in a limited number of games the past 4 years but he is a career .258 hitter.  His best year was 2009 where he hit .283 with 24 doubles, 18 homers and 70 RBIs for the Mariners.

Gutierrez is 31 years old now.  I don’t think it’s fair to expect a repeat of his 2009 season at this point in his career.  What the M’s need to do here is think Endy Chavez.

Last year and now again this year the M’s signed Chavez to a minor league deal with a big league spring training invite.  That kind of contract makes sense for the Mariners if they want to give Gutierrez a shot.

By signing both Chavez, and possible Gutierrez now too, to minor league deals it gives them organizational depth at AAA.  If Ackley, Smith, Jackson, or Ruggiano get injured or don’t perform a replacement with major league experience is but a phone call away.

In Gutierrez’s case, that experience comes attached to a guy who plays an amazing defensive outfield as well.  Gutierrez has a gold glove on his resume from 2010 and could have been a perennial gold glove candidate if he could have found a way to stay of the disabled list.

His nickname is “Death To Flying Things”.  You don’t get nicknames like that without good reason.  Will the M’s roll the dice and give Gutierrez that minor league deal?

I’m all in.  There is no such thing as too much depth, in my mind.  The problem might be that Guti may not be satisfied with a minor league role.  He is 31 but that’s six years younger than Chavez.   Maybe he thinks he can still get a major league deal.

If I’m Jack, I make the offer for a minor league deal.  Anything more would be foolish.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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