Franklin Gutierrez Is Still An Episode Of House

It's my understanding that Seahawks football got started yesterday, and that the team looked really good. That's going off hearsay since I haven't looked anything up. Speaking of devastating, potentially life-altering concussions, Franklin Gutierrez had one some while back, and he's still not really over it.

Gutierrez was on the verge of beginning a rehab stint that would put him on track to return to the Mariners for September. A little while ago he was cleared for all activities. Now the headaches have come back. So now Gutierrez has to get those checked out again and wait some more time before he can try to play baseball. I don't know if the headaches are related to the concussion so many weeks later - there was recent talk of an inner-ear issue - but the concussion would make the most sense, and ultimately what matters most is that Gutierrez's head hurts. Until it doesn't hurt, Gutierrez will remain a roster ghost, as he's been entirely too often.

A torn pec turned into plantar fasciitis. A pick-off throw to the head turned into weeks upon weeks of headaches. In January 2010, the Mariners signed Gutierrez to a four-year contract worth $20.25 million. He's played 257 games since, with a 77 OPS+ and more question marks than Matthew Lesko's closet. What makes this particular series of setbacks so agonizing is that Gutierrez looked really good for the brief window that he was healthy. He hit for some power, actual power, and his defense was as good as it ever was. In Gutierrez, we have a good idea that the Mariners have a quality talent on their hands. He just can't get on the field, and the field's the only place for him to put his talent to use.

In terms of wins above replacement, next year Gutierrez could be worth anywhere from zero to five. Every single player, of course, has a wide range of possible outcomes, but with Gutierrez it isn't about how productive he would be. It's about how often he'd have a chance to be productive. The Mariners clearly can't go into 2013 handing Gutierrez an everyday job. He has enough ability but he just can't be counted on because you never know when he'll be drilled by another terrible pickoff throw, or when he'll get bit by a brown recluse and lose a chunk of his skin. They should probably board up Franklin Gutierrez's fireplace so he's never tempted to venture near a woodpile.

Franklin Gutierrez has headaches. Concussion-related headaches are horrible because they're unpredictable and you can never know when they're gone for good. So Franklin Gutierrez's future baseball schedule is up in the air. Just as it feels like it's always been.

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