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Franklin Gutierrez Rumors
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.
A look at the AL and NL West..
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that he's in on two of Masahiro Tanaka, Ervin Santana, and Matt Garza.
- The Mariners are showing continued interest in Santana, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Franklin Gutierrez says that he had other offers, including one from the Indians, but "didn't think twice" about other opportunities when the Mariners called him, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com.
- Even after adding Joaquin Benoit, free agent pitcher Josh Johnson, and trading for outfielder Seth Smith, the Padres might not be finished, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com wonders if the Dodgers can bank on second baseman Alexander Guerrero. Los Angeles signed the Cuban standout this winter to a four-year, $28MM deal that can increase to $32MM with incentives.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that not much has changed since the winter meetings, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
4:31pm: The Mariners confirmed the deal via press release.
8:57am: The Mariners and Franklin Gutierrez are in agreement on a one-year, $1MM contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (Twitter links). The Octagon client can earn an additional $2MM via incentives, according to Rojas, who adds that Gutierrez's incentives begin when he reaches 250 plate appearances That milestone would net him an additional $200K.
Gutierrez posted a .248/.273/.503 in 141 plate appearances in 2013 — his age-30 season. A pair of hamstring injuries shelved Gutierrez for the majority of the season, marking the third straight year in which injuries have caused him to spend more than 60 games on the disabled list. Since Opening Day 2011, Gutierrez has appeared in 173 games but missed 283 games while on the disabled list.
When healthy, it's tough to deny his upside, however. The veteran inked 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 turned in the best center field defense in the game, all totaling a stellar 6.0 WAR. Following his injuries, the Mariners made the obvious call to decline the $7.5MM fifth-year option on that contract in favor of a $500K buyout.
Gutierrez will join an outfield mix that currently includes Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders and recent signee Corey Hart, though Seattle has other options on the 40-man roster such as Abraham Almonte, Xavier Avery and Carlos Peguero. The team has also been linked to both Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo as GM Jack Zduriencik looks to bolster a perennially low-scoring offense.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported last night that the Mariners and Gutierrez were nearing a new contract.
The Mariners are close to re-signing Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year deal, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports 1 (on Twitter). The Mariners need a right-handed outfield bat and have been encouraged by recent reports on Gutierrez's health, motivating them to facilitate a return, Morosi tweets.
Gutierrez, 31 in February, has a .256/.306/.391 career batting line but has a strong defensive reputation and a career .818 OPS against lefties. He became a free agent on November 1st when the Mariners turned down his $7.5MM club option and gave him his $500K buyout instead.
The veteran inked 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 turned in the best center field defense in the game, all totaling a stellar 6.0 WAR. Unfortunately for both parties, several DL stints over the life of that contract kept him from living up to that deal. Gutierrez has battled hamstring, pectoral, and oblique issues and also dealt with a serious concussion.
News from the AL and NL West..
- Agent Scott Boras says he'll talk to the Angels about signing Kendrys Morales, writes the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin. The Angels say they are not interested, however, because they need to rebuild a depleted minor league system and they would have to forfeit their first-round draft choice to sign Morales. "We're much more comfortable with the idea of maintaining our first-round pick and continuing to build the organization in a much more positive way," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.
- In an interview on MLB Network (Twitter link), Dodgers GM Ned Colletti attemped to throw water on Matt Kemp trade rumors, saying that L.A. is higher on the outfielder than anyone.
- Pablo Sandoval's brother, Michael, has recently been certified as an agent and will join his current agent, Gustavo Vazquez, in representing him, writes Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. If the Giants want to discuss an extension, Michael says that his team will listen. Yesterday, GM Brian Sabean indicated that they'd be open to a new deal if he comes to spring training in shape.
- The Giants say they haven't talked to Jeff Baker's agent in a little over a week, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
- Giants vice president Bobby Evans tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter) that the club would like to sign a left fielder tonight. Baggarly hears that they like Franklin Gutierrez.
- Rockies manager Walt Weiss says that they have talked to Carlos Gonzalez about possibly playing center field and they think he might be able to manage it, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Sulia).
Here are some quick notes from around the West divisions:
- The Mariners have interest in re-signing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, likely to a one-year, incentive-based deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. (Twitter links).
- M's GM Jack Zduriencik also says the Mariners might attempt to improve their outfield via trades, Divish tweets.
- The Dodgers are discussing Michael Young as a possible option in their infield, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes (via Twitter).
- Mike Morse wants $7MM or $8MM on a one-year contract, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. That seems to be a lot to pay a player who hit .215/.270/.381 with poor defense last season. The Astros are reportedly among the teams interested in Morse.
- The Astros have also recently spoken with representatives of outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes (via Twitter). Sizemore, 31, last played in the big leagues in 2011.
- The Rockies are interested in both Morse and Young, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets.
- Now that the Mark Trumbo trade is complete, the Angels are likely to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean says that if infielder Pablo Sandoval comes to spring training in good shape, the Giants would consider signing Sandoval to an extension, MLB.com's Chris Haft tweets.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't owe the Rangers special consideration despite missing 50 games in 2013 after being suspended, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett. "He had a decision to make," says Daniels. "[W]e all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us." Cruz could have appealed his suspension and continued to play for the Rangers last season, but he chose not to.
- If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade for a pitcher, they could pursue Matt Garza, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.
The Red Sox are planning to wait out the market for Stephen Drew, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Though Boston remains interested in Drew, there's a belief that he could eventually find a limited market due to his ties to draft pick compensation. Here's more on the 2013 World Series champions…
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Drew has a market, but not as big as the one initially expected (Twitter link). As such, the Red Sox feel they have a good shot at retaining the Scott Boras client.
- Bradford also tweets that Mike Carp is generating a lot of trade interest. As Bradford notes, given the dearth of quality options on the free agent market for first basemen, that's not exactly a surprise.
- If the Red Sox are intent on adding a shortstop or third baseman as well as a right-handed hitting outfielder, they'll need to free up room by moving someone off their bench, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier provides an offseason reset for Red Sox fans, looking at what's been done already and what moves are still to come. Speier says the Red Sox will add an infielder, whether it's Drew or a versatile backup to support Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.
- Also from Speier, if the team does wish to bring back Drew, it would be necessary to free up some money by dealing a potentially superfluous starter such as Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy.
- Franklin Gutierrez has been connected to the Red Sox previously, and while he's a logical fit in Boston, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com argues that he simply doesn't fit on the roster. Boston will allocate five spots to outfielders in Carp, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes as it is. Of course, the potential to move Carp, as alluded to earlier by Bradford, could alter that picture.
Who's the most valuable trade asset in baseball? Not to spoil the ending of Jonah Keri's MLB Trade Value rankings for Grantland (Part 1 here, Part 2 here), but it's almost certainly Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who posted over ten wins above replacement for the second straight season while making barely more than the league minimum. Not only is he the best player in the game, but even without a long-term deal, the Angels can control him for the next four years at what will likely be below-market rates. Figuring out who else ought to go in the top ten, based on their age, contract status and all-around performance, is a fun exercise. The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and his now-extremely-team-friendly-looking deal are there, as is 21-year-old stud Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. The order of the rest isn't nearly so obvious. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Now that Jacoby Ellsbury is gone, the Red Sox are looking for an outfielder to pair with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Curtis Granderson wouldn't work since both and Bradley hit left-handed, so the Red Sox are looking at righty outfielders. One of those, Lauber writes, is Franklin Gutierrez, who has a .256/.306/.391 career batting line but has a strong defensive reputation and a career .818 OPS against lefties. The Red Sox could also still acquire Carlos Beltran (although he certainly wouldn't be a candidate to play center field) or trade for an outfielder.
- The Marlins would like to see outfielder Chris Coghlan return, but Coghlan is deciding what to do next after being non-tendered, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill suggests that Coghlan would need to accept a minor-league contract to stay with the Marlins. If another team offers him a big-league deal, Coghlan will likely leave Miami behind. It seems unlikely, however, that he'll get one, given that he's coming off a .256/.318/.354 season, isn't a strong defensive player, and hasn't posted an OPS above .718 since his Rookie of the Year-winning debut season in 2009.
- Contrary to recent rumors, the Royals haven't offered Carlos Beltran three years and $48MM, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Royals ownership would have to be involved if the team wanted to offer that much money.
Here's the latest from the City of Brotherly Love…
- The Phillies intend to avoid more expensive free agents like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Brian McCann in favor of "mid-level" free agents, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. The Phillies are wary of how much it would cost to sign Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson even though they like all three players.
- Also from Salisbury, the Phillies have discussed signing Franklin Gutierrez, Marlon Byrd, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Smith and Bronson Arroyo.
- GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including Salisbury) that the team could wait to see what kind of a market there is for Roy Halladay's services before deciding whether or not to pursue the former Cy Young Award winner. “We’re keeping our eyes open on him. We’re not sure how the market is going to develop for him. But we haven’t ruled out bringing him back," Amaro said.
- The Phillies have "long-standing interest" in Mike Morse and see Morse as "a potential Jayson Werth-like late bloomer," CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman writes. Despite this interest, Morse could just be a backup plan for the Phillies if they can't sign a more higher-profile hitter.
- Carlos Ruiz could make a decision about his next contract soon, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). We heard earlier this week that the Phillies wanted a quick decision from Ruiz so they could figure out their catching situation.
- If Ruiz doesn't re-sign, Morosi tweets that John Buck could be a more realistic backup plan for the Phillies than A.J. Pierzynski. Not only would Buck be cheaper, Philadelphia is in need of right-handed bats.
- Trading Domonic Brown and bringing back Ryan Madson are two of the topics addressed by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki as part of a Phillies-centric reader mailbag.
Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- Both LA teams are interested in acquiring David Price from the Rays. The Angels may have a slight edge because they can put together package with bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers have an overstocked rotation.
- Joe Nathan should be of interest to both the Tigers and Yankees even though the latter seems to have settled on David Robertson as Mariano Rivera's replacement.
- There may be no better time for the Red Sox to trade John Lackey than right now.
- The Red Sox may consider re-signing Joel Hanrahan after he recovers from Tommy John surgery to provide protection for incumbent closer Koji Uehara.
- Franklin Gutierrez, whose $7.5MM club option was declined by the Mariners, is an intriguing player who can still perform at a high level when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue for Gutierrez with six trips to the disabled list in the last four years.
- Johan Santana, whose $25MM club option was declined by the Mets, is another pretty good low-cost gamble.