Friday, November 01, 2013

Want a Backup Defensive Outfielder - Why Not Franklin Gutierrez?

Well, we got word this afternoon that Franklin Gutierrez has been let loose by the Mariners, and baring a re-signing at a lower salary to Seattle, is likely to be sought after by teams wanting his glove.  Via a tweet from Bob Nightengale:

If the Dodgers are looking to add some outfield depth - that is, a strong defensive option to shore up the outfield in the late innings - then they should look no further than to Franklin Gutierrez.  He is easily, and I don't think I'm mincing words here, the best defensive outfielder in the game.  Unfortunately for him, his bat (or lack thereof) limits his chances at being a regular starter.

Heck, I even mentioned this last week.  I wrote about him during an attempt at poking fun at Milton Bradley, here:
Joking aside, Franklin Gutierrez has stayed in the Majors since he left the Dodger nest.  That's a total of 9 years longer than I'll ever get to experience, and 3 years short of Milton "please don't kill me" Bradley's career.  He doesn't hit much; which limits his playing time to being a spot starter or reserve defensive outfielder.  Gutierrez's value as a ballplayer is in his work on the field.  He is truly a great defender, and if you need a guy off the bench to shore up your outfield during the late innings, then I can't think of anyone better.  After all, you don't get nicknamed "death to flying things" for being a duck hunter.

Franklin Gutierrez is likely to be a free agent this Winter (Seattle holds a $7.5Mil option/$500k buyout for 2014), so if your team is shopping I'd suggest looking Franklin's way.  His glove will probably be a difference maker in tight-hard-fought games.
With an outfield already stacked with four potential starters, Scott Van Slyke waiting in the wings, and prospects like Nick Buss and Joc Pederson looking for their shot, it's not likely he'll be a viable option.  On the other hand, if the Dodgers do finally move a piece or two (i.e. Andre Ethier) then a defensive specialist like Gutierrez might be in the cards.

Or, maybe this is just idle speculation as I sit here at my desk, mentally ruminating, in a state of Winter Baseball boredom.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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