The Mariners have placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the restricted list after he advised the team that he will not play in 2014, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter links). The move clears a 40-man roster spot for Fernando Rodney.
Gutierrez has had a relapse of the gastrointestinal issues that plagued him last year, and says he intends to focus on regaining his health. Soon to turn 31, Gutierrez managed only 141 plate appearances last year, over which he posted a .248/.273/.503 line with ten home runs. He had inked a one-year, $1MM deal with Seattle that included an additional $2MM in incentives.
With an outfield featuring several left-handed bats, Gutierrez had figured to provide an important platoon option from the right side of the plate. His loss could add even greater impetus to Seattle's rumored interest in Nelson Cruz. Of course, the greater issue might be the loss of Gutierrez as an option to share time in center alongside Dustin Ackley or Michael Saunders. While switch-hitter Abraham Almonte had a solid all-around season last year in the upper minors, he is unproven and has generally put up better numbers when hitting from the left side in his recent minor league campaigns. That being said, the list of remaining free agents does not appear to house any obvious solutions.