Franklin Gutierrez Rumors

Mariners Close To Re-Signing Franklin Gutierrez

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.

Gutierrez is represented by Octagon, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.  Over the course of the offseason, the Phillies, Red Sox, and Giants were all reported to have interest in the outfielder.


West Notes: Morales, Kemp, Sandoval, Baker

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).

West Notes: Gutierrez, Young, Morse, Sizemore, Cruz

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.


Red Sox Notes: Drew, Carp, Peavy, Dempster

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.

Quick Hits: Red Sox, Coghlan, Beltran

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.

Phillies Notes: Free Agency, Morse, Ruiz, Buck

Here's the latest from the City of Brotherly Love…


Cafardo On Free Agency, Price, Nathan, Lackey

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:


Mariners Decline Options For Joe Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez

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.


Heyman On Perez, Mariners, Morales, Yankees

Here's a look at the latest news from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..

  • Mariners reliever Oliver Perez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Braves, and other clubs, according to Heyman.  Perez has reinvented himself as a bullpen arm in the last two years with the Mariners, posting a 2.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 across 63 innings in Seattle.  Competing execs note that Perez is more cost-efficient in terms of prospects and cash than a guy like Matt Thornton.  The veteran would cost another team the prorated portion of his $1.5MM for the rest of the year.
  • Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez could also bring a strong return to General Manager Jack Zduriencik & Co and the Rays are among the clubs that have inquired on their hitters.  However, parting with them would cause them to go into a free fall and also adversely affect the top prospects on the big league roster.  For his part, Jack Z isn't anxious to move anyone.  "We'll see how this week goes. I'm not going to be the aggressor,'' the GM told Heyman earlier this week. "I'm not shopping anyone.''
  • Seattle people have been wondering if the Yankees might call about Morales thanks to their rash of injuries.  The Rangers could also come calling.
  • A Mariners person said they've gotten calls on injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, but his injury history hurts his value.  Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has drawn interest and the Red Sox have had interest in the past, but Zduriencik is said to be hesitant to trade him since he's under control for a few more years. Brendan Ryan, who is no longer the starting shortstop, could also be of interest to someone as a defensive specialist in the infield.
  • Opinions are mixed, but one rival executive tells Heyman that Phil Hughes could fetch quite a bit in a trade.  Another rival exec quipped that the Bombers might trade Joba Chamberlain for a pine-tar rag.  We learned earlier today that the Yankees are aggressively pushing both pitchers.

AL West Notes: Angels, DiSarcina, Mariners

Earlier today, we learned that the Angels dismissed assistant GM Ken Forsch and special assistant Gary Sutherland.  This comes after the Halos parted ways with GM Tony Reagins on Friday.  Here are some notes on their GM search and other items out of the American League West..

  • Today's dismissals make the possibility seem unlikely, but if the Angels decide to fill their GM vacancy from within, two candidates stand out above all the rest, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.  Gary DiSarcina, the former shortstop who is a special assistant to the GM, and Tory Hernandez, the team's manager of baseball operations, would have the best crack at the job.  Meanwhile, Oakland assistant GM David Forst and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn are believed to be very interested in the position.
  • The Halos are fighting perception that team is run in total by manager Mike Scioscia, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.  A competing GM remarked to Heyman that "[Scioscia is] the GM" of the club.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) echoed similar sentiments, wondering aloud if the Angels will hire an actual GM or another figurehead for the position.
  • The Mariners used this past season as a developmental year for their young players, but GM Jack Zduriencik is open to bringing in key veterans to bolster that group next season, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com.  Of course, Zduriencik expects a major boost from within with a healthy return of Franklin Gutierrez and a stronger year from Justin Smoak.