BY SPNW Staff 02:02PM 11/01/2013

Mariners Decline Options On Gutierrez, Saunders

The Mariners predictably declined 2014 options Friday on OF Franklin Gutierrez and LHP Joe Saunders, making both free agents. RHP Stephen Pryor (torn right latissimus) has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and added back to the team’s 40-man roster, which now includes 34 players.

Accepting the option on Gutierrez would have cost the Mariners $7.5 million. Due to his history of injuries, there was no surprise that the Mariners said good-bye.

Gutierrez, 30, appeared in 478 games for the Mariners from 2009-2013. He battled injuries over the last three seasons, appearing in only 173 games while making six trips to the disabled list. In 41 games last season, he batted .248 with seven doubles and 10 home runs. He was a Gold Glove winner in 2010.

GM Jack Zduriencik has said a priority this offseason was to find help for the club’s outfield, which, except for 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, who became a free agent Thursday, was almost without power.

Saunders, 32, the only lefty in Seattle’s rotation last season, went 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA in 32 starts. In nine seasons, he is 89-81 with a 4.30 ERA in 221 starts.

Pryor, 24, spent most of the season on the disabled list with a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. He appeared in seven games, not allowing a run, before being placed on the disabled list April 15. He had season-ending surgery to repair the injury Aug. 9.

The Mariners continue to interview candidates to replace manager Eric Wedge, who recently interviewed to become manager of the Chicago Cubs.


  • jafabian

    Hate to see Guti be let go. He could easily be an All-Star if he’d stay healthy. Saunders battled for the club but the inconsistency hurt the club. Maybe this time we can do a little better at getting some pitching instead of waiting right before spring training.

  • RadioGuy

    Gutierrez was fine when he was healthy, which is like saying Joe Saunders was fine when he wasn’t giving up so many runs. Losing them will not hurt the Mariners.
    From what I understand (and this may have changed), the M’s were going to make the minimum qualifying offer to Morales, who will almost certainly go elsewhere for bigger bucks but at least bring in a first-round draft pick because of the offer. I would try to resign Ibanez, who did rather well until all those days spent chasing balls in left field at his age started catching up to him. He’d be a good DH and sixth outfielder at this stage of his career, and his veteran leadership alone is worth making a decent offer (and he’d likely take a little less money than he might get from another team to stay in Seattle).

    Zduriencik is right in that more production and power are needed from the outfield, which is why the interest in Jacoby Ellsbury is a little curious. He’d be an outstanding defensive OF and base-stealer (should we ever get a manager not violently allergic to letting his players run), but except for one great power year, he’s not really a home run threat. Still, with him in CF and Ackley moved to LF, that could be two-thirds of a decent outfield…just one without any real pop.

    The pitching isn’t in bad shape. Walker and Paxton both looked good in September, which is an awfully short window of opportunity for them but at least should give both a shot at the rotation next year. Maurer was rushed in April, but responded pretty well after he was gradually brought back into the rotation by September. Those three with Felix and Iwakuma could make for a good starting five. The real need among pitchers is a closer, but Pryor has the stuff to be a good one if he can come back healthy.

    These guys aren’t that far away from being good. Then again, that’s what I was saying from last October through Spring Training and look how that turned out.

  • Trygvesture

    Deck chairs on the Titanic – re-arranging with sloganeering. Again. Why even speculate about the personnel decisions? It just feeds the Chowie dream of community involvement with their for-profit train wreck.
    Don’t give them ANY of your money. None. Zero$. No tickets, no team gear, no nuthin. Call and ask for ticket info to be sent. Call and ask for team store catalogues. Call and ask to speak to Howard or Chuck. Call and ask to talk to the PR dept– and complain. Call and ask for the marketing dept– and complain. Stay away from Root no matter what the temptation. Take from them, cost them money– no matter how trivial; give them nothin.