“Considerable Concern” Regarding Gutierrez
Eric Wedge just gave a brief health update on Franklin Gutierrez, and while there’s no official report yet, it doesn’t sound great. Gutierrez has flown back to Seattle (bad sign #1) to get examined further, and Wedge mentioned that he has “considerable concern” about Gutierrez’s status going forward. This could turn out to be as minor as a strained pectoral or as serious as something more serious. Googling for “injuries more serious than a pectoral strain” didn’t help me out much, and I never went to med school. Anyway, I’d prepare for bad news.
So, right now, Casper Wells is probably the team’s starting center fielder, and Michael Saunders might find himself back in the mix for a big league roster spot. There will be talk about Trayvon Robinson competing for that spot too, but he’s not a good defender and an outfield with him and Carp side by side could be disastrous for a pitch to contact staff. Saunders still needs to show he can put the bat on the ball and occasionally hit something on the outer half of the plate, but at least he’s got a solid glove. Still, a Wells/Saunders job-share in CF is a pretty big step down from what the team hoped to get from Gutierrez.
If it turns out to be something that Gutierrez could come back from in April or May, maybe you live with Saunders/Wells for a few weeks. If he’s going to be out much past the start of the season, though, I’d strongly suggest looking outside the organization for help. Will Venable could probably still be extracted from San Diego for the right offer. There are guys the team could get that would keep the team from having another disaster in the outfield again.
If this is going to be a long term injury, the organization shouldn’t settle for Saunders or Robinson just because they’re young and already here. They can do better.
And we have news – torn pectoral, will be off the field for four weeks, at which time he’ll “resume baseball activities” and be re-evaluated. This basically means he’ll miss all of spring training (again), and probably won’t be back on the team before the beginning of May. And that’s assuming this thing heals on its own. If it lingers, we could be looking at another lost season for Guti.