Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All-Aught Indians--Back-up Outfielder--Franklin Gutierrez (2005-2008)

Eric Wedge didn't like Milton Bradley, and Milton Bradley didn't like Eric Wedge. Bradley had made a habit of doing the wrong thing, including fights, tenures in jail and not running out ground balls. When he got into it with Eric Wedge twice in less than a year, he was sent packing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. What they received in return for the misguided centerfielder would turn into their best utility outfielder of the decade. The All-Aught Indians Center Fielder is Franklin Gutierrez.

Gutierrez would make his first long-term stints with the Indians during the 2006 season, getting called up on three different occasions. Gutierrez would bat .272, with 21 runs scored, nine doubles, one homer and eight RBI. No, it's not like Gutz stood up and proclaimed himself to be the greatest player of the decade, but he did exhibit the ability to play all three outfield positions, only made three errors, and showed up a cannon of an arm.

In 2007, Gutz would up the ante with 100 games played, and once again, at all three outfiled positions. He would hit .266, scoring 41 runs, with 13 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 36 RBI and eight stolen bases. He would only commit one error with three assists.

Gutz would struggle with more playing time in 2008 in 134 games, although he did play his best baseball in August and September, raising his average from .220 to nearly .250. He would only make three errors that season.

Gutz couldn't manage to take the next step with the Tribe, from the back-up role to the role of starter, so the Tribe traded him to Seattle. He would have a break-out season in 2009, playing center field for the Mariners. Still, as an Indian, Gutierrez managed to play all three outfield position in his three seasons of consequence, and played them exceptionally well. He had decent power, speed, and likely the best arm in baseball.

No, Franklin Gutierrez couldn't win and sustain a regular outfield position during his tenure with the Cleveland Indians. Lucky for Gutz and the Indians, that allowed the multi-talented outfielder to claim the all-aught back-up oufield slot.

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