Mariners decline options on Franklin Gutierrez, Joe Saunders

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Franklin Gutierrez and Joe Saunders will both be free agents after the Mariners declined their 2014 options.

Gutierrez once looked like a potential star, combining exceptional defense in center field with above-average offense, but he’s been healthy enough to play just 41, 40, and 92 games during the past three seasons and Seattle chose not to keep him around for $7.5 million.

Saunders signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal as a free agent last offseason and that deal included a 2014 mutual option that’s now been turned down after he threw 183 innings with a 5.36 ERA at age 32.

Dallas Keuchel could make season debut on Friday vs. Nationals

Dallas Keuchel
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Braves manager Brian Snitker is hoping recently-signed starter Dallas Keuchel will make his season debut on Friday when the Braves open a 10-game road trip with a three-game set against the Nationals, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. For now, the Braves have not officially named a starter for Friday.

After spending seven months as a free agent, Keuchel finally inked a one-year, $13 million contract with the Braves on June 6. He tossed seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his first start with Single-A Rome, then gave up three runs on 11 hits across seven innings for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.

Last year, his final season with the Astros, Keuchel went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old supposedly worried prospective teams due to his declining strikeout rate.

Keuchel is hoping to continue the Braves’ momentum, as the club has won 9 of its last 10 games and is 12-3 overall in June thus far, building up a 2.5-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.