Franklin Gutierrez hadn’t played since September of last season because of multiple health problems, the latest of which were a torn pectoral muscle and heel injury, but the former Gold Glove center fielder was finally back in the Mariners’ lineup last night.
At this point it’s impossible to say what to expect from Gutierrez, as he hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2009, but last night he went 1-for-2 with a walk and his first RBI since way back on September 2.
Before all the injuries Gutierrez was a good-hitting, catch-everything center fielder who ranked as one of the most underrated all-around players in the league. If he can get back to anywhere close to that level it would be a huge boost to the Mariners offensively and defensively while also allowing them to shift the hot-hitting Michael Saunders to left field, creating a great defensive trio of Saunders, Gutierrez, and Ichiro Suzuki.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”