Sep 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (21) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Following a brief stint with James Jones, the Mariners’ optioned OF James Jones to Tacoma and have called up the 32 year old veteran Franklin Gutierrez. He will be in the lineup tonight, batting second and playing left field for the Mariners’.
Franklin Gutierrez is very deserving of this call up, as the 32 year old has been on an absolute tear all throughout his 2015 minor league stint. So far this year he has raked at the dish, as his slash line reads .317/.402/.500. On top of that he has an impressive OPS of .902 to go with his seven HRs and 31 RBIs. But why I think this move makes the most sense is his complete domination of right handed pitching so far this season for the Tacoma Rainiers. So far this season he is hitting .336 off of right handed pitching, a category that the Mariners’ sit dead last in all of the MLB. This year the M’s are hitting a dreadful .225 against righties, which is mind-boggling considering all of the lefties that the Mariners’ have in their lineup. Guti is going to bring another dimension to this lineup, as he is a gap-to-gap hitter who doesn’t strike out. He is someone who will hopefully get on base for the big boys behind him to drive in.
I hear you guys already; you would’ve loved to see the new and improved Jesus Montero up and in a Mariners’ jersey. But let me try to persuade you a little more on why Franklin Gutierrez makes more sense.
First, you need to take into account who the Mariners’ already have in their lineup and where these guys will fill in. In my opinion, Guti will slide perfectly into the two hole behind Austin Jackson, hopefully setting the table for guys like Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, and Mark Trumbo to drive in. He also will give the M’s another option for the third outfield spot, and hopefully he’ll grab a stranglehold of it.
Jesus Montero on the other hand, is completely blocked, and a carbon copy of what the M’s already have. He’s a guy who hits for power, but is prone to strike out his fair share (See Cruz, Trumbo, Morrison, Zunino). Logan Morrison has really turned it on for the Mariners’ at first base, and the DH position is locked down by the likes of Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo (Say what you want about Trumbo’s production, but you don’t make the trade the M’s did and give up what you gave up to have him sitting on the bench, so Trumbo will be playing).
But, I think the most important factor into Guti getting the call up is simple, age! Guti is a 32 year old who has had multiple seasons in the MLB, and he certainly won’t be getting any younger. He’s a veteran, he knows what to expect, and he’s right at the back end of his prime. Montero is just 25 years old, and the last thing you want to do is call him up, have him struggle, and have him go back down to the minors with his confidence completely shot. The M’s have rushed so many hitters to the majors (Mike Zunino, Dustin Ackley, Chris Taylor, Brad Miller) and heck even Jesus Montero the first time they called him up. Not everyone is a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, and these guys need time in the minors to find their swing and to become battle tested. Jesus Montero’s time is coming, but I like what the M’s are doing in taking their time and making sure the time is right before they call him up for good.
Franklin Gutierrez was a defensive wizard for the Mariners’ from 2008-2013. Legendary Mariners’ sportscaster Dave Niehaus gave him the nickname “Death To Flying Things” and it has stuck ever since. Gutierrez has a 2010 Gold Glove stored somewhere in his trophy case, and the 32 year old will bring much needed range to a rather slow M’s outfield.
If you’ve been reading my Mariners Markets, I’ve been begging for quite some time to have this move be made, and I am beyond ecstatic to see what he can do. Gutierrez has always had the skill set to be on a major league ball club, but it’s been his health that has derailed his career. In 2013, he landed on the 60 day DL list with a hurt hamstring, and was finally activated June 22nd against the Oakland A’s. Unfortunately for Gutierrez, he hurt that same hamstring in the 6th inning of that game and missed the remainder of the season. In 2014, he had multiple conditions that caused him to miss time, including ankylosing spondylitis (a condition that causes lower back pain) and irritable bowel syndrome (I’ll let you guys look this one up, but spoiler, it isn’t pretty and is very painful). I’m hopeful that he can stay healthy in 2015, and be a spark for the Mariners’ anemic offense at the top of their order.
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Guti is back, and if you’re an M’s fan, I think you should definitely be excited. I’m excited for him, because he is coming back from all the health issues that have plagued his career so far. I also think he will provide a much needed spark to this punch less M’s offense, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table. Baseballs and hitter beware, “Death To Flying Things” is back, and he’s ready to make up for some lost time.