Mariners decline options on Franklin Gutierrez, Joe Saunders

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Two inevitable departures. One met with indifference, the other with sadness.

Today's batch of obvious news is in, as the Mariners won't be bringing back Joe Saunders or Franklin Gutierrez - at least not at the salaries their options were for. Joe Saunders would have been due $8.3 million on a mutual option, and Guiterrez had a $7.5 million club option that got denied.

Saunders gets $900k as a bonus for sucking, and Guti gets $500k for being broken.

I have no reaction to Joe Saunders, much like I never had any reaction to anything he did, short of a sigh or an eye roll. He came, he stunk, and he left. Year to year stop-gaps sometimes work out fine, like Kevin Millwood, and sometimes they end up backfiring. Unfortunately the Mariners paid for mediocrity and got worse than mediocrity in return.. There isn't much to say about Joe Saunders other than he performed a lot worse than his peripherals, and he's likely to improve on his numbers in 2014. Somebody might actually get a bargain buying low on Saunders this off-season, but I doubt it's the Mariners coming back to more.

Seeing Franklin Gutierrez depart (for the time being) is a hollow feeling. On one hand, I hope and wish he gets a fresh start in another organization and works his way back up to excellence while finally staying healthy. On the other hand, I wish he could do it here, but the Mariners will most likely move on. It's difficult to keep Gutierrez on the 40-man roster, and his constant state of uncertainty over the past several years has made roster moves tricky and left the Mariners with their hands tied.

Gutierrez was, at a time, the best defensive center fielder this organization has ever had, and that's saying a lot. He made the most difficult of plays look routine, and his unexpected outbursts of power were unpredictable and wonderful. There was no more fitting conclusion to Guti's tumultuous run with the Mariners than this season, where he showed up when he could and was great when he did, but couldn't do enough.

At it's core, being a baseball fan is about the moments that make your jaw drop and your stomach rise. As seasons pass and rosters change, those moments linger behind, even if the actual contributions and numbers do not. For all the cold numbers the game produces, there is still emotion tied to certain players. Gutierrez provided so many of those unforgettable moments in a brand new and optimistic time for Mariners baseball. He was here for the temporary rise, and gone for much of the fall. Through all the ups and downs, we never forgot how special of a talent Gutierrez was, and we always wanted him to be better. To be well. To be what we all knew he was capable, at least once, of being.

We all have our own moments in life that we're exceptionally proud of. But we're human, and those moments are sometimes overshadowed and lost amongst the times where we are far from our best. Most of us aren't fortunate enough to have a life full of many ups and little downs. We wish could go back and re-live a time in our lives where things were better. Nostalgia is king, and the past always seems better than you look at it from the present. There's a little Franklin Gutierrez in all of us, and that's why he'll always be loved, and never forgotten.

Godspeed, Guti. Get well, and stay well. Thank for you the peaks and sorry about the valleys.

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