Welcome back Franklin Gutierrez
For pretty much the last year and a half (season wise) the Seattle Mariners have been without their Gold Glove winning center fielder.
With a strange abdominal injury last year, and with more fluke injuries this spring, Franklin Gutierrez has been the ghost of center field’s past at Safeco Field.
That all came to an end Thursday night, as the anchor of the Mariners outfield returned!
What this means to the Mariners
With Mike Carp being placed on the 15 day DL on Wednesday, and with the subsequent call up of Casper Wells retroactive to Carp’s injury, this gives the Mariners speed, finesse, and superb defense moving forward with their outfield now.
With the likes of Casper Wells, Gutierrez, Ichiro, Michael Saunders, and Chone Figgins at the disposal to fill any of the three outfield spots, Seattle definitely has the best outfield in the AL West now.
But, the problem for the M’s has never really been their defense, it’s been their bats.
So if Gutierrez can’t come up with some well timed hits, and add some offense to the team, he may be shown the door come deadline time. (Editors note: he did have an RBI single in Thursday night’s game.)
Who should sit?
With the return of Guti, if leaves skipper Eric Wedge in kind of a bind.
Of course with the demotion of Alex Liddi as well, it does open up the bench for the extra bat.
Here are some possibilities that make sense in my head.
Platoon Guti with Wells in center until Guti is 100% up to speed again, Wells was swinging a hot bat before his last demotion.
Of course keep Figgins as an emergency back up, or just to spell a player maybe once a week.
With Saunders, he could be used a couple different ways: Starting left fielder, and possibly some DH work against righties when Jesus Montero is behind the plate. Saunders’ bat of late is way too valuable to be left out of the lineup.
Ichiro is Ichiro. He will be the man in right till the end of the year, or unless he gets dealt at the deadline. Start him every day of the week, especially since his bat has been coming around since being moved back to lead off.
The Mariners are in a very good spot to be in right now, and one they haven’t been in for quite a while.
Too much talent on the bench.
Somebody has to go, but until we see if Gutierrez is back to where he needs to be, I think carrying five outfielders is the way to go for the Mariners.
This could push Carp out, but he hasn’t done much to warrant his spot being kept on the big league roster anyways.