Eric Wedge didn't like Milton Bradley, and Milton Bradley didn't like Eric Wedge. Bradley had made a habit of doing the wrong thing, including fights, tenures in jail and not running out ground balls.
When he got into it with Wedge twice in less than a year, he was sent packing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. What they received in return for the misguided centerfielder would turn into their best utility outfielder of the decade. The All-Aught Indians center fielder is Franklin Gutierrez.
Gutierrez made his first long-term stints with the Indians during the 2006 season, getting called up on three different occasions.
Gutierrez batted .272, with 21 runs scored, nine doubles, one homer and eight RBI. No, it's not like Gutz stood up and proclaimed himself to be the greatest player of the decade, but he did exhibit the ability to play all three outfield positions, only made three errors and showed off a cannon of an arm.
In 2007, Gutz upped the ante with 100 games played. Once again, he played all three outfield positions. He batted .266 and scored 41 runs, with 13 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 36 RBIs and eight stolen bases. He only committed one error with three assists.
Gutz struggled with more playing time in 2008 in 134 games. However, he did play his best baseball in August and September, raising his average from .220 to nearly .250. He only made three errors that season.
Gutz couldn't manage to take the next step with the Tribe—from the back-up role to the starter role. So the Tribe traded him to Seattle.
He would have a breakout season in 2009, playing center field for the Mariners. Still, as an Indian, Gutierrez managed to play all three outfield position and played them exceptionally well. He had decent power, speed, and likely the best arm in baseball.
No, Franklin Gutierrez couldn't win and sustain a regular outfield position during his tenure with the Cleveland Indians. Luckily for Gutz and the Indians, that allowed the multi-talented outfielder to claim the all-aught back-up outfield slot.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!