Mariners #3 CF: Franklin Gutierrez – 13.5 fWAR
There have been some underrated people that have stood out while going through the “best of” at each position. There have also been some, where you wonder how good they could’ve been if they didn’t have to deal with injuries. Franklin Gutierrez fits both of those categories.
Guti started with Cleveland and put together a couple of strong seasons early on in his career with a 1.8 and a 2.1 fWAR at ages 24 and 25. He was then a part of a massive trade between Cleveland, Seattle, and the Mets.
The Mets got Sean Green, J.J. Putz, and Jeremy Green. Cleveland got Luis Valbuena and Joe Smith. The Mariners got Jason Vargas, Aaron Heilman, Maikel Cleto, Endy Chavez, Ezequiel Carrera, Mike Carp, and Franklin Gutierrez. Yeah, that’s a big trade, and it seems like the Mariners came out of it pretty good.
Guti would put up an insanely good season his first year with the Mariners.
Throughout his time there, he was always a special defender. He won the Fielding Bible Award twice, putting up an insane 33.4 DEF and 31.0 UZR in 2009. Oh, he was pretty good with the bat as well. .283/.339/.425, 18 HR, 16 SB, 85 R, 70 RBI. When you add it together, he had a 6.1 fWAR that year, nearly 4 fWAR higher than anything else he would ever do in his career.
He would have a 2.2 in 2010 and a 2.3 in 2015. If he could’ve stayed healthy (he dealt with an odd and hard-to-diagnose stomach issue) then he would’ve been a solid player for nearly an entire decade in Seattle. Even as the defense slipped a bit, later on, he started hitting better with WRC+ of 115, 167, and 115, even though he only played 41, 59, and 98 games over those seasons.
Guti was an awesome guy in center and easily slides into the third spot for Center Field.