Since Yasiel Puig’s arrival during the 2013 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had a glut of outfielders on their 40-man roster. While the depth figured to require a juggling act, injuries have made managing the situation feasible.
That was particularly true last season as a handful of outfielders spent time on the disabled list. Andre Ethier didn’t make his 2016 debut until September, while Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke suffered season-ending injuries.
The group of outfielders is healthy heading into spring training, and has grown to include organizational depth in Brett Eibner and Darin Ruf.
According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the Dodgers have also added Franklin Gutierrez on a one-year contract that includes incentives:
The Los Angeles Dodgers and free agent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez have agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.6 million and $400k in incentives, sources tell FanRag Sports.
Gutierrez was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2000, was included in the 2004 trade with the Cleveland Indians as a top prospect to acquire Milton Bradley, and went on to make his MLB debut with the Indians the following year.
While not specified, the value of Gutierrez’s deal suggests it’s a Major-League contract. If so, the Dodgers would need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing official. An identical move is needed to finalize Sergio Romo’s reported one-year pact.
Last season, Gutierrez batted .246/.329/.452 with nine doubles, 14 home runs, 39 RBI and a 112 OPS+ in 98 games with the Mariners. He fared particularly well against left-handed pitching, hitting .280/.373/.511 with a 143 wRC+ in 217 plate appearances.
For his career, Gutierrez is batting .289/.351/.495 off southpaws, which is an area the Dodgers greatly struggled in last season.
Over parts of 11 seasons in the Majors, the 33-year-old is a lifetime .257/.311/.409 hitter. Gutierrez has logged time at all three outfield positions throughout his career, though hasn’t played center field since 2013.