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Report: Dodgers sign Franklin Gutierrez to one-year deal

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Free agent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez has reportedly signed with the Dodgers, according to Manolo Hernandez of Beisbol Por Gotas. The contract is for one year, $2.6 million with an extra $400,000 in incentives (via FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman). Further details from Hernandez suggest that the Giants were also pursuing Gutierrez and are still expected to seek additional outfield help prior to the season.

Gutierrez, 33, is coming off of a seven-year stretch with the Mariners, during which he batted a cumulative .257/.312/.409 and racked up 12.3 fWAR. While his propensity for incurring strange and severe injuries limited his playing time in past years, he hasn’t spent more than six days on the disabled list in a single season since 2014, when chronic gastrointestinal issues and recurring joint pain forced him to skip the entire season. He slashed a modest .246/.329/.452 with 14 home runs and a .780 OPS during the Mariners’ 2016 campaign.

Gutierrez will join an outfield that already boasts Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke. It’s a nice acquisition for the Dodgers, who can bolster outfield corners while adding another right-handed bat to the lineup. The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.