Baseball is hard. Living is supposed to be easy. For Franklin Gutierrez, it's been the opposite. There's nobody on the Mariners I wanted to have redemption more than him, to provide some sort of production in a limited role. To contribute his career without breaking, to have some prolonged success, finally shaking the issues that have plagued him throughout his major league career. I was pleased with his return after how the offseason unfolded and had become intrigued with the idea of him as a potential platoon bat in a lefty-heavy lineup. I wanted to believe that his admission that he could only play a few times a week was some sort of self-realization towards his limitations as opposed to an indication that he wasn't healthy, but as it usually is with Guti, things have taken yet another turn for the worse.
The Fernando Rodney signing become official today, and the consequential roster casualty is Franklin Gutierrez, who the team will place on the restricted list. Gutierrez told the team that he wouldn't be able to play in 2014 due to a relapse of his stomach issues. This move removes him from the 40-man roster and, for all intents and purposes, from the Mariners organization. He won't make any money this year. Craig Calcaterra wonders why he's on the restricted list as opposed to the DL, and I'm curious as well. I'm sure more information will come out about this.
Along with all of the other pulls, strains, and sore muscles Gutierrez has suffered over the years, he admitted that he once again suffered with the same gastrointestinal issue through 2013, and says he's going to focus on getting healthy. Not to play baseball, but for his life. Forget the game for a minute. Gutierrez is one of us, beleaguered, battered, broken. A shell of what he once was. A Mariner, through and through.
Something is wrong with Gutierrez. Something internal. This isn't a normal set of circumstances, this isn't a prolonged string of bad luck. Forget Death to Flying Things, forget the random flashes of power, forget the speed, and the carefree magic that he popped out to show. This goes beyond the game. This is a player that we've loved watching, that made jaws drop on TV and imaginations run wild on the radio as Dave painted a picture we couldn't possibly believe. Gutierrez was brilliant at a very difficult sport, and is now terrible at digesting food. It isn't supposed to happen like this.
Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of the year. When he's reflecting on his career, I wonder if he'll remember that he was supposed to have one more hit. It isn't supposed to be this easy, but Gutierrez often made it so.