By Kirby Arnold
It’s looking like the Mariners are about to settle one of their current arbitration issues in a longterm way. Venezuelan reporter Francisco Blavia has tweeted that the Mariners are close to an agreement on a four-year, $20.5 million contract extension with center fielder Franklin Gutierrez.
The Mariners, of course, won’t confirm anything until it’s done. What I’m told is that the report from Venezuela has legs, but there are details to work out before an announcement can be made.
Four years at $20.5 million? Looks like a nice deal for the Mariners, provided Gutierrez plays the next four years like he did in 2009. It was a breakout season for the 26-year-old, who batted .283 with 18 homers, 70 RBI, a .339 on-base percentage and played the best center field defense at Safeco Field since Mike Cameron roamed there. Gutierrez made $455,000 in 2009.
If/when the Gutierrez extension comes together, it will wipe one of four potential arbitration cases off the Mariners’ board. Remaining are relievers Mark Lowe and David Aardsma, plus the biggie, Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez made $3.8 millioni, Aardsma $419,000 and Lowe $418,000 in 2009.