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.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.