On Monday afternoon, the Dodgers finally announced the signing of outfielder Franklin Gutierrez. The Dodgers and Gutierrez reportedly reached a one year agreement back on February 10th. Per Jon Heyman, the deal is for $2.6M with a possible $400K in incentives. Space was made available for him on Sunday when the Dodgers traded Vidal Nuno to the Baltimore Orioles for minor leaguer Ryan Moseley.
Gutierrez is not a stranger to the Dodgers organization. He was originally signed by LA in November of 2000 as an amateur free agent. He was traded in 2004 to the Cleveland Indians for Milton Bradley. He was the No. 3 prospect in the Dodgers organization at the time, and originally wasn’t going to be included in the trade for Bradley.
Franklin spent four years in the Cleveland organization before he was traded in December of 2008 to the Seattle Mariners, where he has been the last eight years. Again he was part of a trade that wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t included initially. He missed the entire 2014 season due to ankylosing spondylitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Last year for the Mariners, Gutierrez had a slash line of .247/.329/.452 with 14 home runs in 98 games. Over the course of his career, Franklin has produced a .257/.311/.409 slash line, but perhaps more importantly, has hit.289/.351/.495 in more than 1100 lifetime plate appearances against southpaw pitching. With that being a huge thorn in the Dodgers’ side last season, his addition will help the Dodgers improve in that area. Gutierrez also is quick on the basepaths,stealing 78 bases in 96 attempts. Another guy that could help with my quest to see more stealing, and all over better base-running for this club.
In addition to Gutierrez having had history with the Dodgers organization, he also has history with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. The two were in the Dodgers’ spring training camp in 2003. “He was a lot lighter back then,” Roberts quipped, “but always a good athlete, good defender. It’s nice that we do have some history.” Roberts went on to say that Gutierrez was a “lefty killer,” and thinks that the Dodgers issues against left-handed pitching should “even out” in 2017.
Gutierrez in a native of Venezuela, and is entering his age 33 season. The right handed outfielder joins an already big crowd of players competing for a spot. He spent a lot of his time in center field, and would be perfect to give Joc Pederson a rest from time to time. He has played 470 games in center, but has played in the corners too, with 302 games in right field and 81 in left. He could spell Yasiel Puig in right, but maybe would be competing for the left field starting position with Andre Ethier and Andrew Toles. Anywhere Gutierrez plays, though, he figures to be a great addition to the team.