Report: Gutierrez close to Mariners return

 While fans would love to see something bigger and better, at least eventually, it looks like the Seattle Mariners are turning to a familiar face to fill an outfield role for next season. Former Gold Glove winner Franklin Gutierrez is reportedly close to returning to the club with which he’s spent the past five seasons.

There’s yet to be official confirmation of a deal at this time, but there had been rumors both parties were interested in a reunion. Tuesday’s reports came via Twitter from FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi:

The 30-year old hasn’t played a full season since 2010 and has appeared in just 173 games over the past three years. Any deal for Gutierrez would likely be an incentive laden, one-year pact that may have a club option attached. While he’s far from the right-handed power bat the Mariners desperately need, he still hits left-handed pitching well enough and is more capable of patrolling the spacious Safeco Field than most. Gutierrez has put up a .255/.305/.383 line in his tenure with the M’s and has been a consistent, plus defender when he’s been able to stay on the field.

Gutierrez figures to be a depth piece at this time as he can’t be counted on to stay healthy long enough to be much more. Currently, the M’s have Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley slated to cover the bulk of the center field duties in 2014, but an ideal scenario has one of them occupying a corner outfield spot, at least part of the time, where each profiles better defensively. It also appears that part of the plan to have Logan Morrison see time in left field, so the more legitimate options the club adds the better, since Morrison belongs at first base.

PI’s Alex Carson likes the move so long as there’s another outfielder on the way and the Mariners aim for Gutierrez to be a fourth outfielder to start the upcoming season. As with free agent addition Corey Hart, a one-year deal based on incentives carries minimal risk for the club. The only issue however, is that while Hart and Gutierrez could represent impact moves, the Mariners still should be looking to make another significant upgrade to the lineup.

The free agent outfield market has slimmed mightily with options such as Chris Young and Marlon Byrd finding new employers already. Rick Ankiel and Grady Sizemore represent the best of the remaining centerfielders on the open market, but like Gutierrez, there’s significant injury baggage with both. The Mariners clearly have the inside track on Gutierrez’s medicals and his familiarity with the organization makes him a more attractive option than, say, Seattle-area native Sizemore.

There’s nothing wrong with picking up Gutierrez for another season, let’s just hope the club has a bigger fish they’re trying to hook in terms of the outfield.

Remaining Free Agent Outfielders
Ankiel
Jeff Baker
Jason Bay
Roger Bernadina (CF)
Brennan Boesch
Shin-Soo Choo
Chris Coghlan
Tyler Colvin
Trevor Crowe (CF)
Chris Dickerson
Jeff Francoeur
Sam Fuld
Reed Johnson
Nelson Cruz
Raul Ibanez
Laynce Nixx
Xavier Paul
Juan Pierre (CF)
Derrick Robinson
Sizemore
Andres Torres
Delmon Young
DeWayne Wise

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

27 Comments

  1. I like the Gose trade also but would still rather have Rasmus only if extended.

  2. This thread is proof that even if you get something for almost nothing, people will still complain.

  3. What all the De Aza love? I would be more willing to see what Almonte can do, than get basically an Almonte clone. Because he comes from somewhere not Seattle, doesn’t make him a great option.

  4. You think the Blue Jays would give us back Delabar?

    Kidding… kind of.

    I do like the idea of Franklin for Gose trade, perhaps with other pieces involved on both ends to even the deal out… Works for both sides, IMO

  5. Ackley or Franklin (plus a starter) for one year of Rasmus would be a huge overpay. Rasmus is a good player, but one year of Rasmus (at a high salary in his final year of arbitration) isn’t worth six seasons from Franklin. Plus, Rasmus is coming off a career year in which he had a crazy BABIP, and is a strong candidate for regression. He’s a good player, but more of a .250/.320/.450 guy than what we saw last year. Basically, he’s a lefthanded, healthy Franklin Gutierrez. One year of that isn’t worth Franklin. Not even close.

    Baseball trades aren’t for players. They are for contracts. Franklin’s contract (under team control for six seasons) is worth far more than Rasmus’ one year of team control. A smart team never makes that trade. Dumb teams (like the Royals) do.

    I do think the M’s and Blue Jays are a good trade match. They need help at 2B and starting pitching. And they don’t have the ability to add a lot of salary.

    However, instead of Rasmus, a better match would be Anthony Gose. He’s a very good defensive CFer and baserunner with some raw power potential. He just needs to work on his K rate. Even as a high K, low BA type player, he would have value. But he’s only 23, and could develop into a Coco Crisp type player, but with a few more Ks, HRs, and SBs. That’s a good player.

    Right now, I think Franklin has a bit more value than Gose, as he’s younger, plays a more important position, and probably has a bit more offensive upside. Maybe a package deal – something like Franklin and Erasmo Ramirez for Gose, LHP Daniel Norris, and a lesser prospect or bullpen arm – would be a good match for both clubs.

    The M’s goal in any Franklin deal should be to trade him for a player of similar value at a position of need. The key term there is SIMILAR VALUE. Ideally, they can move him for an OFer with the same upside and contract status. If not, they can just hold on to him. Having depth is always a plus. But given the lack of quality middle infielders available right now – the YANKEES just signed the corpse of Brian Roberts to replace Cano – some team is likely to offer a solid deal for Franklin.

  6. Gutt is a cheap enough signing that it shouldn’t stop us from making any moves that might happen in the future.

  7. Still think Rasmus is the way to go. Toronto is in need of a 2B and young controlable pitching. He hits LH ok and is a better defender than anyone we have. He has 20-25 HR power but is in the last year of his deal. If we could get him and minor league catcher AJ Jimenez for Ackley or Franklin plus E. Ramirez plus we could try to extend him. Sign a #3 and a backup C

    Miller SS
    Rasmus CF
    Cano 2B
    Hart DH
    Seager 3B
    Smoak/Morrison 1B
    Gutti/Saunders RF
    Zunino C
    Ackley/Saunders LF

    Bench -Bloomquist, Catcher,Morrison,Saunders

  8. Viciedo is another DH and we certainly dont need anymore of them. They should try to pickup De Aza at least he can play some CF.

  9. The White Sox have a couple options in house. I think them losing Beckham for any amount of time is a good thing. M. Samien SS/2B came up last year and with them Adding Davidson moves him from the rumored Thirdbase position back to Second. They also have a kid M. Johnson who plays SS/2B who has some serious wheels. If memory serves he stole 70+ bases in the minors last year and will start in either AA or AAA.

  10. I would like to see the mariners trade for Dayan Viciedo from the white soxs, pretty sure they could use a 2nd basemen……….

  11. – Rasmus would NOT cost Walker… He is in the last year of team control. Franklin and a C- prospect for Rasmus and a B prospect probably gets it done

    – Sure Gardner is available; for the right price… In fact, I think the above trade probably applies to Gardner, just make it a C and B- prospect and you’re there…

    – De Aza might cost Paxton, but only because both are kinda mysteries, and even so I doubt he costs that much

  12. I like Almonte I think by th start of the season he is the 4th OF. I see Saunders and the rest of the layovers from last year apart from Guti being gone one way or another.

    CF Itoi(from Japan) posting sign
    RF J. Lake(from Cubs) Saunders, mid level prospect
    LF D. Murphy(from Mets) Ackley, upper level prospect

    Y. Itoi .275 15 HR 30 SB .859 OPS Bat lead off and ++ defense
    J. Lake .280 18 HR 27 SB .760 OPS Bat Second ++ defense
    D. Murphy .290 12 HR 20 SB .770 OPS Bat bottom of order ++ defense

    Is it flashy no could be one of the best defensive and speedy OF line ups in baseball. The D and there OPS is what a team like Oakland would do. GET ON BASE, add that with Cano, Hart and Morrison that add solid power.

    CF Itoi
    RF Lake
    2B Cano
    DH Hart
    1B Morrison
    3B Seagar
    SS Miller
    LF Murphy
    C Zunino

    I would switch Zunino and Murphy setting up the top of the order and still protecting Zunino is guys who hit well. Catchers bat takes longer to develope and his D is already MLB ready.

  13. Rasmus would cost you Walker, Saunders and Romero at least.

    Stubbs is crap move on.

    Gardner is not on the trade block.

    De Aza could be had but would cost you Paxton at least maybe more.

    Jackson would cost you about what Rasmus would.

    Lets be realistic.

    As stated in other posts.

    Itoi CF from Japan.
    J. Lake CF/SS Cubs
    B. Jackson OF Cubs

  14. Wow dude,

    Guti is a low cost no risk high reward kinda move. No brainer…

    Morrison to play 1B who has more talent than Smoak for just a relief pitcher. No brainer..

    OF issues will be resolved tghe off season is in no way over.

    Itoi CF Japan has to be somewhat on the M’s radar.
    Franklin being delt for an OF say D. Murphy 2B/LF NYM

    And either Cruz of Choo are still out there. Cubs can also be a trade partner they have several OF’s who are young that could be had.

    to call what has happened so far stupid is well stupid.

  15. I think the off season is still going… Remember when many freaked out over WFB? The next thing we have Cano. I do agree adding one of those guys is key too, we need depth but signing Guti doesn’t stop that and gives you a low risk high reward gamble as an addition. Another OF simply sends Almonte to the minors while Guti isn’t on the DL.

  16. If hes healthy! geez that is the same thing being said every year and he never is. The outfield here is a joke and it just continues with clods and retreds. I agree Gutti is a good player when healthy but he never is so it doesnt matter.There are many CF’s we could put together an offer for guys that have been mentioned as moveable- Rasmus,Gardner, Jackson,Stubbs ,De Aza etc.

  17. Yeppers, that’s absolutely correct.

  18. Davis,
    I understand your frustration with Franky’s injury history, but to say definitively that he will play no more then 12 games next year is just ignorant. If the reports on his health are true then it makes sense to sign him to a one year, incentive laden deal and see if he can put together a good year. When Franky is healthy he is a good player and and upgrade over anything we have on the roster OF wise. Go look at his numbers, when he’s healthy he’s fantastic. Lets hope for a healthy season out of him. I’m sure there is another OF in the mix and after JZ signs a SP then we should see that OF target unfold. My guess is in a trade for a young SP or two.

  19. “If you want Felix to be happy-win games!”

    Guti will help us do that. He’s a good player.

    “Gutti will play no more than a dozen games next season.”

    This is just pointless pessimism. But even if that worst case scenario turns out to be the case, it will only cost the M’s $1 mil. That’s nothing. Low risk, moderate reward. Great deal.

    “Outfield defense is huge in Safeco we need a real CF who plays and gets on ase we have parts to trade go get one.”

    Have you seen Guti play? If you value OF defense, you have to like this deal. We still could trade for this phantom elite defender/OBP machine you are calling for. But realistically, who might that be? Those types of guys aren’t exactly cheap and abundant right now. Again, if that player is available (I like Anthony Gose and Rusney Castillo as fits for this team) having Guti on the team isn’t an impediment.

    “Felix has 175 million reasons to be happy he is used to Gutti not being around.”

    That was a facetious comment.

    Seriously, there is no rational way to dislike this deal. The M’s just added a guy who can play elite OF defense and hits LH pitching really well. He’s a great addition to a crowded OF with lots of question marks. He’s a huge injury risk, but that’s why we signed him for essentially nothing. And he doesn’t stop the team from making other deals. No downside.

  20. The Tanaka news/rumors get better:

    “If it is accurate that Tanaka prefers to play on the West Coast, then the Dodgers and Mariners might have an advantage beyond their available dollars. Tanaka would be a great fit for the Giants in a lot of ways – they need young starting pitching; he could be marketable for them; they’re one of MLB’s most flush teams; they’d keep him away from the Dodgers, etc. – but it’s unclear whether San Francisco would consider that type of investment.”

  21. We know what he can do when healthy. If we wouldn’t have signed him someone else would. Makes sense. Maybe he’ll be healthy enough for an effective platoon.

  22. If you want Felix to be happy-win games! Gutti will play no more than a dozen games next season. He will hurt something in spring and we will see him in August for a few games. Outfield defense is huge in Safeco we need a real CF who plays and gets on ase we have parts to trade go get one. Felix has 175 million reasons to be happy he is used to Gutti not being around.

  23. So….you are concerned about outfield defense…..and think signing Guti is dumb. Ok.

  24. I don’t understand how anyone could see this in a negative light. If Guti is healthy, he’ll help the club. If he’s not, he’s on the DL. The cost is so low, it won’t impact the clubs ability to make other moves. No brainer. He makes the M’s a better club. And he’s one of Felix’s closest friends on the eam. Keeping Felix happy is a nice side effect.

    And now, a new name get added to the list of available OFers…..

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/defection-of-top-cuban-outfielder-rusney-castillo-could-shake-up-market/

    Based on the limited scouting reports I’ve read about this guy, he seems like a great fit. Sorta like Shane Victorino. The M’s should sign him, Tanaka, and call it a successful offseason.

  25. Trading for Morrison and signing Gutti are just stupid moves. We need outfielders that can play defense and at least play in some games. Gutti will get hurt during spring training for sure and Morrison should not step foot out there. With Hart and Morrison out there it’s no different than Morse and Raul and we saw how that worked out on defense. The only real OF on the roster is Saunders and he is just a 4th OF.Almonte is a AAAA player -another disaster with the OF mark my words. Maybe we can hang our hopes on Xavier Avery

  26. Is there any idea as to if and when Stefen Romero could possibly be ready? I’ve heard that he may be best suited for LF.

  27. Bringing back Gutierrez on a one year deal makes a lot of sense, especially given their options! I mean come on, can you really read the list of names you mentioned above with a straight face? Raul Ibanez…Jason Bay…Francouer…Ankiel…Pierre…Delmon Young!!!

    Choo would be a nice addition, but not at 7/140. Cruz is a horrible idea that has been discussed in great lengths already. Let some other sucker team overpay him.

    While you and I may not agree, Jack Z thinks he has 5 outfielders on the 25 man roster already (Gutierrez, Sauders, Ackley, Hart, and Logan) and has a 6th outfielder close to the majors (Almonte). While it looks like Jack is repeating his roster construction mistakes of last year, there aren’t many options out there.

    With so many holes, I am OK if he is unable to fix them all in one offseason.

    I am sure Jack is trying to upgrade the outfield, but there just isn’t much out there.

    I would rather see them sign Ubaldo Jimenez or Tanaka (unlikely given the Yankees, Cubs, and just about every other team will bring the bidding to a frenzy).

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