Franklin Gutierrez (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Astros outfield was a mess last season. Well, for the most part.
Robbie Grossman did well during his second stint in Houston prior to getting injured, but whether he deserves to start in 2014 is still up for debate. Chris Carter proved his worth as a power threat, but there are also openings at first base and designated hitter. Brandon Barnes can hit lefties and play good defense, but he is more of a fourth outfielder.
Yes, we are expecting George Springer in 2014, but there are still two other openings that need to be filled.
Perhaps Franklin Gutierrez can fill one of those spots?
To put it simply, Gutierrez has been a disappointment the last two seasons. The outfielder played in just 132 games in 2012 and 2013 combined including only 40 last year. An understatement would be to say that Gutierrez is injury prone. Essentially his entire season was sabotaged by a bad hamstring injury.
For that reason, the Seattle Mariners declined the outfielder’s $7.5 million option for 2014 making him a free agent.
What Gutierrez does have is talent, and the 30-year old still has some potential. Last season, he batted .260 with four home runs and 17 RBI’s, as he did show some flashes.
If you want to get a clearer indication of what to expect from the outfielder, I would look at his 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
- 2009: .283, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 85 runs, 16 stolen bases
- 2010: .245, 12 HR, 64 RBI, 61 runs, 25 stolen bases
Gutierrez can also add good defense and if healthy a .260/15/65/70/20 projection for 2014 is reasonable. Also after the last two injury plagued years it is likely that he will come cheap on a short term, incentive filled contract.