Mariners Editorials: My Favorite Unsung M’s Heroes

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Jul 21, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Franklin Gutierrez (30) hits a grand slam home run in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Number 2: Franklin Gutierrez

We already covered how the M’s got Franklin Gutierrez the first time all the way back in 2008, before the Spring Training of the 2009 season. But in case you need a reminder, the M’s gave up J.J. Putz to the Mets and Luis Valbuena to the Indians in order to get Guti from Cleveland, and Jason Vargas, Endy Chavez, and Aaron Heilman from the Mets.

Guti instantly became a fan favorite because of his unique combination of speed, power, and ability to patrol center field similar to Junior or Mike Cameron.

Initially, Guti was very durable, playing 153 games in 2009 and 152 in 2010. He hit 18 homers for the M’s in 2009 while driving in 70 runs. He posted a .339 OBP and stole 16 bases. The following year he hit 12 homers, but stole 25 bases. He also won the American League Gold Glove for the grace with which he patrolled the outfield.

But in 2011, Guti played in only 92 games. In 2012, he played in 40, and in 2013, it was just 41. He missed all of 2014 as a series of injuries and sickness plagued him for those years.

The M’s continued to stick with Guti and kept re-signing him in hopes he would make it back to somewhat of the player he showed. And earlier this year, the M’s brought him back up. And last night? He hit his first home run of the season, a pinch-hit grand slam to help the Mariners beat the Tigers.

Guti’s history of injuries no longer makes him a reliable option to play everyday, but when he’s in the line-up, he always has the ability to show flashes of greatness. Last night was one of those times.

Next: Number 1: Mike Cameron