Nobody was surprised to see Seattle Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez being placed on the 15-day disabled list after sustaining a hamstring injury against the Houston Astros in late-April. This will be Gutierrez’s fifth stint on the disabled list since he became a member of the Mariners after the 2008 season.
The Mariners are lucky to have Michael Saunders back from injury so soon and he will be able to play center field during Gutierrez’s absence.
The team is losing a significant amount of defensive value with Gutierrez on the shelf. This has forced slow-footed veterans Endy Chavez and Raul Ibanez to have to play the field when everyone knows they shouldn’t be.
Everyone can agree that Gutierrez is an incredible center fielder when healthy, but the 2010 American League Gold Glove award winner can’t seem to stay on the field. During the 2011-2012 seasons, Gutierrez only managed to be in the lineup in 132 total games, which was about 40 percent of the games that the team played in that time span.
This team cannot afford to be wasting $7 million per year on a player who is not even on the field for a majority of its games.
One of GM Jack Zduriencik’s first moves in Seattle was acquiring Gutierrez from the Cleveland Indians as a part of a three-team deal that also sent LHP Jason Vargas to the Mariners. If he could, Zduriencik would like to stay loyal to Gutierrez, but the team can no longer afford to keep him if he is not even going be on the field.