Congrats Seattle, You Got Yourself a Player: Introducing Franklin Gutierrez
Instead of being negative and continuing to spew my unrest towards this deal, I thought it'd be more productive to tell Seattle and their fans about the key-cog in the deal for JJ Putz.
No, it's not Aaron Heilman, Mike Carp or any of the other minor league prospects Seattle received. It's Franklin Gutierrez, the starting center fielder for the Seattle Mariners in 2009.
Gutierrez will be 26 by the time the 2009 MLB season gets underway, putting him at a good age to bust out and prove his talent.
What does Gutierrez bring to the table?
Defense, defense, and more defense.
I might be accused of a guy who is enamored with defense, but don't overlook the value of a Gold Glove caliber defensive player.
Did you say Gold Glove caliber defensive player?
I did and I mean every word of it.
Need evidence? There aren't many YouTube videos of him out there making spectacular catches, but if you pull up his profile on MLB.com, you'll find a link to his library.
In there you can find some of his better efforts of 2008 and those aren't even the best of his gems.
Not in 2008, but rather 2007, Gutierrez made an unbelievable grab in Cincinnati as a defensive replacement late in the game. He pinned himself up against the metal fence in the outfield, but managed to hold on and practically save the game for Cleveland.
It didn't save the game, because the Indians ended up losing in extra innings, but Gutierrez saved Cliff Lee's chance for a loss in 2008. A sinking ball hit by a Toronto player in the ninth inning was ticketed to knock in a few runs and give the Blue Jays a lead.
In Troy Polamalu-like fashion, Gutierrez snagged the ball before it touched the ground.
He made the Polamalu catch in baseball, before Polamalu made the catch in football.
I didn't even get to his arm strength.
With by far the most accurate and strongest arm on the Indians team, Gutierrez has built up the reputation that he can't be run on. Left, center, right field, from any ballpark, he routinely makes pin-point laser-like throws.
You might think I'm crazy when I say this.
But Franklin Gutierrez is a better all-around outfielder than his teammate, the multiple Gold Glove winner, Grady Sizemore.
In my opinion, yes he is. He can do the same Gold Glove caliber defense from all spots in the outfield and not skip a beat.
Alright so his defense is good, but what about his offense? You can only go so far saving runs; you need to produce them as well.
In my humble opinion, Gutierrez got figured out last year and that cost him his job.
But like I said, he was only 25 years old, it was really his first year full year in the Major Leagues, and he started to readjust in the second half of the season.
Gutierrez was awful in the first half of the year, hitting just .216 with 49 strikeouts and measly three home runs. A far cry from what he was expected to do after hitting 13 home runs in 100 games in 2007.
However, with limited playing time in the second half, Gutierrez found himself and turned his season around. It wasn't a huge turnaround but it was enough to convince me he still had it.
A .285 average and two more home runs in 27 less at-bats, isn't going to set the world on fire, but really, is anyone expecting him to?
Look, he is what he is offensively. He's going to strike out and he might not walk a whole lot. He isn't a top of the order hitter. He's a defensive stud that can hit for some power if you stick him in the bottom half of the lineup.
Is he a base stealer?
He has the speed to steal basis and I'm sure if he ran a lot more, he'd steal a lot more. But the Indians aren't a team that does that a whole lot. If he got the opportunities to, I think he could steal 20 bases.
Pair that with his home run potential.
Franklin Gutierrez is a solid major league player and I think Seattle got a nice piece to their puzzle.
They just need to give him a chance.
I'm not going to say Gutierrez is a future All-Star who is going to put up fantastic numbers. But unless you are the Yankees, who fields an entire team of All-Stars?
A successful team needs a Franklin Gutierrez in their lineup. A successful Franklin Gutierrez needs a chance and a chance he'll get with Seattle. Good luck to Frankie G with the Mariners, I know I’ll be rooting for him.
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