Franklin Gutierrez re-signed with the Mariners in mid-December and said he was “feeling good” after dealing with an assortment of health issues during the past three seasons, but the team announced that he now plans to sit out the entire season.
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the center fielder has been placed on the restricted list after symptoms related to his gastrointestinal problems returned, writing: “Gutierrez didn’t feel it was fair to the Mariners to come to spring training in his condition and has decided to focus on his health.”
It’s yet another tough break in a long line of tough breaks for Gutierrez, who once looked capable of developing into one of the best all-around center fielders in the league by combining solid hitting with exceptional defense. Unfortunately that was 2009 and he’s hit just .243 with a .652 OPS since then while missing 243 of a possible 324 games during the past two years.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.