UPDATE: Gutierrez's agent tells MLB.com that the deal is 90 percent done and they are waiting on the Mariners.
According to a tweet (it's getting easier to type that) from Venezuelan baseball writer Francisco Blavia, Franklin Gutierrez and the Mariners are on the verge of signing a 4-year, $20. 5 million contract extension.
Franklin Gutiérrez está a punto de firmar un acuerdo con Seattle por 4 temps y 20.5 millones de $ + una opción para el equipo. Falta poco.If that's true, it's a good signing for general manager Jack Zduriencik to lock up the man nicknamed by local bloggers as "Death to Flying Things."
Gutierrez hit .283 with 18 homers and 70 RBI. He posted an OBP of .347 and a slugging of .454. I really believe he is capable of hitting 25 homers in a season. He hit two home runs at Petco Park that were two of the longest I saw hit by a Mariner player last season, including one to opposite field. His ability to drive the ball to right and right center with power is a big positive. More importantly, his understanding of the strike zone and his willingness to work counts improved as the season went on.
But really it's on defense where Gutierrez is so valuable. He's stabilized a position that was manned by the Jeremy Reed and Willie Bloomquist for the second half of 2008.
According to Fangraphs, Gutierrez rated as the most valuable defensive player in baseball, posting a 29.1 UZR rating.
One thing I forgot to mention about this is the idea of service time and arbitration-eligible and free agent years. It appears that with this contract, the M's would have locked him for two arb-eligible year and his first year of free agency and possibly the second.
Jeff Sullivan and Matthew Carruth of Lookout Landing both have posts on some numbers possibilities.