Sep 23, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pinch hitter Franklin Gutierrez (21) rounds 3rd base after hitting a solo home run against the Kansas City Royals during the 8th inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
After a promising start to his time with the Seattle Mariners, Franklin Gutierrez has proven to be a source of frustration in recent years. Between 2011-13, the outfielder was only available for 173 of a possible 486 games. (That’s just under 36% in case you’re wondering!)
As if it couldn’t get any worse, Gutierrez then informed the Mariners he would be unable to play in 2014, due to ankylosing spondylitis and irritable bowel syndrome. A lot of people (myself included) wondered if we’d seen the last of him in a Seattle uniform.
However, it appears that Jack Zduriencik has, for all intents and purposes, extended an olive branch to Gutierrez. The general manager has confirmed the Mariners are considering offering a minor league contract to the former Cleveland Indian.
Apr 19, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (21) in the dugout during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Zduriencik made the announcement to the Seattle media on Tuesday, during his end of season press conference: “He’s in Florida, working out. He has some interest in coming back next year. We’re going to talk to him and we’ll see what happens.
“He left in a good frame of mind. We’ll have to see where it’s at, but he’s spoken to our guys more than once about his desire in coming back next year. It would be as a non-roster player.”
Certainly, the return of (a fully fit) Gutierrez could provide a big boost to a Mariners team that came agonizingly close to returning to the post season for the first time since 2001. The 2010 Gold Glove winner has previously been described as one of the game’s best defensive outfielders.
The Caracas, Venezuela native could also potentially help an offense that still needs to improve. In his first season with the Mariners (2009), Gutierrez batted .283, and hit 18 home runs combined with 70 RBIs.
It comes as little surprise that Zduriencik is considering such a move. The GM previously admitted he would not have accepted a three-team trade back in 2008, if Gutierrez had not been included in the deal.