As first reported above by FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, the Mariners and oft-injured outfielder Franklin Gutierrez are in agreement for the free agent to return to Seattle. ESPN's Enrique Rojas has since confirmed the deal and offered terms of the contract -- it is a one-year deal with a $1 million base with incentives that can add an additional $2 million.
The 30-year-old Gutierrez had a breakout year offensively and defensively for Seattle in his first year with the club in 2009, hitting .283/.339/.425 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases and leading the Major Leagues in Defensive Runs Saved (32) and UZR/150 (29.0). He would win his first Gold Glove the following year, but his offense fell off to .245/.303/.363 as he struggled with a stomach ailment most of the year.
From 2011 through this last season, Gutierrez has appeared in just 173 games for Seattle, hitting only .238/.276/.363 while battling a myriad of injuries. He had 213 plate appearances for Triple-A Tacoma and just 151 for Seattle in 2013, being sent out on four separate rehab assignments for hamstring and other injuries.
Without Gutierrez in the mix, Stefen Romero is the only right-handed hitting outfielder of the eight on the Mariners' 40-man roster, and Romero has not yet made it out of the minors for Seattle. Logan Morrison (a lefty) and Corey Hart are both listed as infielders on the M's roster. Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley and switch-hitter Abraham Almonte are the returning 25-man roster outfielders. Gutierrez hit well against right-handed pitching last year but for his career he has fared much better against left-handers, posting a .287/.344/.474 slash against them in 846 plate appearances as compared to a .242/.290/.356 slash in 1,954 plate appearances versus right-handed pitchers.
Seattle's 40-man roster is full, so there will be a corresponding roster move when Gutierrez is officially added by the Mariners.
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