Mariners News: M’s Re-Sign Franklin Gutierrez to 1-Yr Deal


The Seattle Mariners announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have agreed to terms with Franklin Gutierrez on a one-year deal. The specifics of the contract were not released. Gut is a fan favorite in Seattle, and I’m sure the Mariners’ faithful are very excited to have him return for 2016.

This past season was a magical one for the veteran outfielder. After missing much of the past four seasons dealing with ankylosing spondylitis and various other injuries, Gutierrez began the season with the M’s triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. The 32-year-old mashed with the Rainiers, posting a .317 batting average with 7 home runs and 31 RBI across 48 games.

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The Mariners promoted Guti in late June, and despite his long absence, he showed few signs of rust. Gutierrez hit .292 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI over the course of 59 games with the M’s in 2015. He registered a .354 on base percentage, and slugged .620 through 189 plate appearances.

Gutierrez was the best story of the Mariners’ season, and he should receive serious consideration for MLB Comeback Player of the Year. He had many special moments this past summer, but four in particular stand out to me.

The first occurred on July 21 in Motown. It was a crazy game between the Mariners and the Detroit Tigers, featuring many lead changes and some awful pitching. Guti was called on to pinch hit in the top of the 8th with the bases loaded and the M’s trailing 8-7. He came through big time, crushing an opposite field grand slam to give Seattle an 11-8 lead.

The next magical moment happened a few days later on July 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Guti only managed to tally one hit on the day, but his lone contribution proved to be key. With the score tied at 5 in bottom of the 10th, Gutierrez got a hold of one and deposited it into “The Pen” in center field. The walk-off home run won the game for Seattle, and was the first in Gutierrez’s 10-year career.

One day after the Mariners got thumped 22-10 by the Boston Red Sox on August 15, Gutierrez had arguably the biggest day of his career. Hitting out of the 5th spot in the M’s order, Gutierrez finished 2 for 4 with a pair of home runs and 4 RBI. The first homer was deep to center field, and the second dinger ended up in the bullpens in right field.

Finally, this September Guti put together a streak rarely seen in baseball. He homered in four consecutive starts. The streak began on September 12 and ended on the 20th. The fact that Gutierrez was not playing every night makes the achievement even more impressive.

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Nicknamed ‘Death to Flying Things’ by the late Dave Niehaus, Gutierrez lived up to his name in 2015. The former Gold Glove center fielder proved more than capable of patrolling both corner outfield spots. The bulk of his work came in left field, but he could get more opportunities to play right field next year.

It’s clear that Guti is no longer capable of playing everyday. His body simply is not able to withstand the rigours of a 162-game schedule. However, he was very effective as a  pinch-hitter and did a nice job when called on to play the outfield. I expect Gutierrez to have a very similar role with the 2016 Mariners, but look for him to break camp with the big leaguers this time around.

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Franklin Gutierrez is a fine ballplayer, and a great person. He will be a key contributor off the bench for Seattle in 2016, and will serve as a mentor to the younger players on the team. Personally, I’m very happy about this signing, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.