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Franklin Gutierrez Rumors
The Astros nearly signed Ryan Vogelsong, but after Vogelsong took his physical with the Astros, he went another direction and re-signed with the Giants. Vogelsong later said he “really wasn’t comfortable with what was going on” with the Astros, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes. Vogelsong’s agent, Dave Meier, later said Vogelsong simply meant he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that negotiations were falling apart. Vogelsong also later added that his wife wanted to stay in San Francisco. As Drellich notes, though, Vogelsong’s phrasing was odd, and it’s unclear exactly why the two parties weren’t able to agree on a deal. “[E]verything that’s happened to me this offseason — and one of these days I’ll tell you guys all about it, when we’re all sitting around having a couple beers 10 years from now when I’m done playing — and you’ll go, ‘There’s no way that happened,’ and I’ll say ‘Yup,’ and you’ll understand what I’m talking about,” Vogelsong says. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- The Mariners could still re-sign outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a minor-league deal, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. “He wants to give it a shot,” says assistant general manager Jeff Kingston. “Full disclosure, there are some veteran non-roster players we’re still talking to, and we probably will add a few more here before the start of camp.” The 31-year-old Gutierrez hit .248/.273/.503 in 2013, hitting a remarkable ten home runs in 151 plate appearances, but he missed the 2014 season with gastrointestinal issues.
- Athletics closer Sean Doolittle has a slight rotator cuff tear in his throwing shoulder, MLB.com’s Jane Lee notes. He is not expected to be ready to pitch to start the season (Twitter links). Doolittle dominated for the A’s in 2014, posting a 2.73 ERA with a ridiculous 12.8 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings. The newly acquired Tyler Clippard, who had 32 saves with the Nationals in 2012, could perhaps get save opportunities for however long Doolittle is out.
The latest edition of the MLBTR Podcast focuses on the Padres‘ busy offseason, as Jeff Todd speaks with MLB.com’s Padres beat writer Corey Brock about all of San Diego’s transactions. Jeff also spends a few minutes on how the five NL West teams’ winter moves have created a varied set of expectations around the division. Here’s the latest from around the baseball world…
- The Angels weren’t eager to part with Ricardo Sanchez, but GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez) that the club’s young pitching depth made it easier to deal Sanchez to the Braves for third baseman Kyle Kubitza and reliever Nate Hyatt. “What we’ve done, in our draft or in the trades the way we’ve gathered players, is really focus these last three years on adding pitching,” Dipoto said. “Part of what I have talked to our guys about is, ‘If you tap into the pitching, you have the key to get the other things we need.’ “
- Dipoto also reiterated that Kubitza’s acquisition doesn’t necessarily spell the end of David Freese (a free agent next winter) in Anaheim. “David Freese is our third baseman; we’re not in a rush to move David Freese out. But we do feel like now we have someone we can build with,” Dipoto said.
- The Angels aren’t seriously exploring adding a notable starting pitcher since they expect Garrett Richards to be ready by “some point” in April, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets.
- Also from Morosi, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said that his team is “always open” to the possibility of more moves, including another trade for a hitter.
- Endy Chavez or Franklin Gutierrez could potentially fit as candidates to return to the Mariners as minor league outfield depth, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes as part of a reader mailbag.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich recently confirmed that he’d taken some calls about Drew Stubbs, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes. “In general, there has been interest in Drew from teams looking for very specific fits in their outfield,” Bridich said. “Teams see him as a fit, but he’s a fit for us as well.” While Bridich didn’t give the impression that any trade was close or even being discussed, it was reported last month that the Rockies had spoken to the Orioles about a possible Stubbs deal.
- The Mets expect interest in their starting pitching to perk up, a team source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post, with Dillon Gee the likeliest candidate to be dealt. Without a trade, the Mets are prepared to use one of their starters out of the bullpen, as the source says a six-man rotation is “unlikely.”
- Also from Puma, Mets GM Sandy Alderson didn’t sound optimistic about his team’s chances of a shortstop upgrade. “We’ve continued to have conversations, but nothing is likely to occur,” Alderson said. “There is currently nothing imminent. I still believe at this point that we will go into spring training with what we have at shortstop.” The Mets never came close to a deal for Troy Tulowitzki, Puma writes, though they talked with Colorado during the Winter Meetings.
The Angels have at least a little interest in Red Sox infielder Brock Holt, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston tweets. After non-tendering Gordon Beckham, the Angels are on the lookout for a backup infielder, and GM Jerry Dipoto has said that a trade for one is a possibility. Holt would be a good get for the Angels — he hit a solid .281/.331/.381 last season while playing seven positions. Here’s more from the American League.
- Rays GM Matt Silverman told reporters, including Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter), that clubs are calling about outfielders. Now that some of the notable free agents have signed, demand has increased.
- The Rays are in active search mode for a second catcher, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. According to Silverman, the club is active on both the free agent and trade front. They’re remaining open-minded about both veterans and youngsters. Tampa currently has Ryan Hanigan, Curt Casali, and Justin O’Conner on the 40-man roster.
- The Mariners are keeping their eyes on former outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who they could bring back on a minor-league deal, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes. Gutierrez spent the 2014 season on the restricted list while dealing with a nerve condition, but he’s currently playing winter ball in Venezuela. “I have not talked to him myself,” says GM Jack Zduriencik. “I plan to, but I’ve not done that yet. He missed a whole year, so we’ll see. I don’t know where he is physically or mentally.” Gutierrez’s exceptional defense once made him very valuable, but the 31-year-old struggled with injuries even before the 2014 season.
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.