Given a chance to sign a veteran outfielder who can play both corner outfield spots, produce off the bench, mentor younger players and has proven to be on the upswing following a battle with illness, Jerry Dipoto didn’t hesitate.
Today Dipoto announced that he has re-signed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (who was a free agent) to a 2016 contract. (See full release below).
Gutierrez, 32, had a bounce back season in 2015 after missing all of 2014 as he battled the effects of ankylosing spondylitis (AS, a form of chronic inflammation of the spine and of the sacroiliac joints). Gutierrez battled several injuries and AS during a three-season span from 2011-2013 that allowed him to appear in only 173 of 486 team games, while making six separate trips to the disabled list.
However, he rejoined the Mariners in spring training in 2015, and hit .317 (57×180) in 48 games with AAA Tacoma. After being recalled from the Rainiers on June 24, Guti hit .292 (50×171) with 27 runs, 11 doubles, 15 home runs and 35 RBI while posting a .620 slugging percentage. (His slugging percentage trailed only Bryce Harper among all players with 150 or more at bats last season). Gutierrez hit .309 (34×110) in his final 35 games (August 4-end of season) and his total 1 home run per every 11.4 at-bats was the second-best HR/AB ratio in the Majors (behind Giancarlo Stanton).