Obviously the Cubs need to be looking for outfield help this offseason. Jacoby Ellsbury would be nice, but he does not make much sense for rebuilding team like the Cubs. Curtis Granderson is also very intriguing, but they should only be involved with a 33-year-old player if he comes at a value. One outfielder that should come at a very discounted price, and potential value is Franklin Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is a nine-year veteran, who has played for the Cleveland Indians and most recently, the Seattle Mariners. He was once considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball, but his career has mostly been a disappointment thus-far. Injuries have had their role, as he only played 41 games last season and 40 in 2012. Even so, Gutierrez is only a .256 career hitter and has an unimpressive career OPS of .697.
So if this guy is a bust, why would the Cubs want him? Well, first of all, he is a very good defensive player. He won a well-deserved Gold Glove with the Mariners in 2010, and while age and injuries have slowed him down a bit, he is still a very good defensive player that I believe can handle center field. Secondly, Gutierrez is a right-handed hitter and that is something that the Cubs are severely lacking in the outfield. He has also shown some decent power the past couple of seasons, slugging .420 in 2012 and .503 last season. Admittedly, that is a very small sample size, but Gutierrez’s power was what made him a top prospect years ago. At worst, I think he would be a nice platoon partner with Sweeney on this team.
The Cubs have nothing to lose if they decide to sign Gutierrez. He will surely have to settle for a very inexpensive deal, and maybe even a Minor League contract. Worst case, he gets injured again and they cut ties with him at the end of the season. Best case, the Cubs find their starting center-fielder who plays good defense, hits for some power, and keeps the position warm for stud prospect Albert Almora until he is big-league ready. With so little to lose and so much to gain, my only question is, why not?