The Mariners Monday signed veteran outfielders Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez to minor league contracts and extended spring training invitations to both. Chavez appeared in 80 games with Seattle last season while Gutierrez is looking to make a comeback after sitting out the 2013 season in an attempt to recover from a variety of injuries and illnesses.
Chavez, who turns 37 Feb. 7, hit .276 (64×232) with 12 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 23 RBIs while playing all three outfield positions last season. This is the third consecutive spring Chavez will be a non-roster invitee with the Mariners.
A 13-year veteran, Chavez has appeared in 1,151 career games with the Royals (2001), Expos (2002-04), Nationals (2005), Phillies (2005), Mets (2006-08), Mariners (2009, 2013-14), Rangers (2011) and Orioles (2012).
Gutierrez, who turns 32 Feb. 21, last appeared with the Mariners in 2013, batting .248 with seven doubles and 10 home runs. He missed 106 games in two DL stints with a strained right hamstring, April 23-June 21 and June 25-Aug. 25.
Gutierrez, an American League Gold Glove winner in 2010, has appeared in only 173 of 486 team games since, making six trips to the disabled list.
The Mariners roster is currently at 57 players (40 roster, 17 non-roster), including 27 pitchers (seven non-roster), six catchers (three non-roster), 12 infielders (three non-roster) and 12 outfielders (four non-roster).
Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Peoria, AZ., Feb. 20 and hold the first workout Feb. 21. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.
Both good signings. We know what Endy can do, but he’ll essentially be in a three-way battle with Ruggiano and Smith for two outfield slots. In Guti’s case, it’s more a roll of the dice: If he’s healthy, he can contribute. If not…well, we know how that ends. I’m still convinced Cruz shouldn’t play any more in the outfield than necessary. As a fielder, he reminds me a little of the latter-day version of Raul Ibanez: Catching the ball isn’t the problem, getting to where it lands is.
However, Nelson’s never played infield so I’m thinking he’ll be a DH/OF on the roster while Montero (another liability on defense) is penciled in as a backup DH/1B/C. I wouldn’t write Jesus off just yet, but he’s got to stay healthy and clean while attaching himself to Cano so he can learn how to act like a pro.
Both are solid players. If Guti can stay healthy he can be an All-Star. A minor league deal is more than fair. Endy is a solid clubhouse presence in the mold of Stan Javier and fills the same role. He can even leadoff which is good when Austin needs a break. I’m glad both are being brought back.