The Mariners have issued a press release to announce that they have declined their half of Joe Saunders' $8.3MM mutual option and also declined Franklin Gutierrez's $7.5MM club option. Saunders will receive a $900K buyout, while Gutierrez will receive a $500K buyout.
Saunders' option was originally for $7.5MM with a $500K buyout as well, but he boosted those numbers by reaching incentives for starts made and innings pitched. After signing a one-year deal with that option last winter, Saunders posted a 5.26 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 183 innings. Opponents batted .311/.365/.507 against Saunders and swatted 25 homers in 820 plate appearances.
Gutierrez, 31 in February, signed a four-year, $20.5MM extension with the Mariners after an outstanding 2009 season in which he batted .283/.339/.425 with 18 homers, 16 stolen bases and the best center field defense in the game (all totaling a stellar six wins above replacement). Unfortunately for both Gutierrez and the Mariners, he's had six separate DL stints over the life of that contract, dealing with hamstring, pectoral and oblique issues as well as a serious concussion.
Gutierrez can't be counted on to stay healthy, but as a low-risk option for a team in need of outfield help this winter, he would represent a high-upside gamble.