We heard a month or so ago that the Mariners were going to investigate locking up Franklin Gutierrez to a long term deal this offseason. That work appears to be over as the twitter-verse is abuzz saying the deal is set.
Four years, $20.5 million, with a team option for a fifth year is the word.
Gutierrez was worth 1.8 wins in a half-season's worth of play during 2007, worth 2.3 wins in three-quarters of a season in 2008 and just under 6 wins last season. The six looks like a huge outlier until you pro-rate Franklin's playing time in 2007 and 2008 and you basically have a guy that was a three-win player both those years and then took a step forward as he enters his prime years.
Expecting six wins going forward would be delusional, but four to five is entirely reasonable and I prefer to stick with four to be on the conservative side and to try and undercut his defense, just in case it turns out that Franklin is not actually batman out there. Four wins on the open market was worth about $18 million last year. In this winter's depressed market, it's down to about $16-17 million, not really a huge difference.
As Jeff pointed out, the deal buys out three arbitration years and a free agency year, and likely a second FA year as well once the option is exercised. Four years at 40/60/80/100 weighting comes out to 2.8 free market seasons. 2.8 seasons multiplied by, say $16.5 million and with a 10% reduction for the security of a long term contract and a "fair" deal for Franklin's worth and service time would be about $42 million. Even at just three wins a year, the fair number would be about $32 million for these four seasons. The Mariners are paying $20.5.
That's factoring in Gutierrez's arbitration status, by the way. If he were truly a free agent, he would be worth about $60 million over four years. And it's not even including the team option. Go light off some bottle rockets of joy.