Mariners re-sign Franklin Gutierrez to 1-year, $1 million contract

J. Meric

The oft-injured center fielder heads back to Seattle after drawing interest from the Red Sox, Phillies and Giants this offseason.

The Seattle Mariners have agreed to re-sign outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year, $1 million contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.comJon Morosi of FOXSports.com first reported that a deal was close last night.

Gutierrez, 30, was linked also linked to the Giants, Phillies and Red Sox this season despite struggling with injuries over the past three seasons. In 2013, hamstring injuries limited him to just 41 games. He has not topped 100 games played since 2010, thanks to a number of leg injuies and other health issues.

When Gutierrez has been healthy, his power stroke from the right side and his elite glove have made him a solid player for the Mariners.

Last season, he hit .248/.273/.503 with 10 home runs in 151 plate appearances. During his career, he has hit .256/.306/.391. Before the injuries to his legs began, Gutierrez was one of the elite defensive center fielders in the game according to several advanced metrics.

In 2009 he saved Seattle 31 runs above average with his glove according to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and 32 runs by Defensive Runs Saved's count. In 2011, UZR credited him with saving 16 runs and DRS credited him with 10 runs saved. Over the last two seasons, however, both metrics have shown him costing the team runs with his glove in the small sample of innings he has played in center.

With young players like Abraham Almonte and Michael Saunders capable of playing center, should Gutierrez return for the 2014, he figures to be used as an outfield utility player and employed in a platoon role. In his career, he has hit left-handed pitching much better than fellow righties, with a .287/.344/.474 line against southpaws.

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