Mariners notebook: Gutierrez, Saunders sign new deals
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Mariners announced a handful of minor-league moves Tuesday morning. Franklin Gutierrez and Joe Saunders were released from their minor-league contracts and then re-signed to Triple-A contracts. Endy Chavez opted out of his minor-league contract and has been released.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams are required to pay some veterans on minor-league contracts a $100,000 retention bonus to keep them in the minor leagues. By releasing the players, the Mariners and other clubs that have done the same today avoid that cost.
So Gutierrez and Saunders remain with the organization by signing new deals. This is especially interesting with Gutierrez, who has decided to keep playing. It is one thing to enjoy spring training in a big-league clubhouse, another to actually go to the minors. He apparently is committed to trying to continue to play and must see something that tells him he can or is at the very least encouraging. I think that can be counted as good news for Gutierrez.
As for Chavez, this move is a bit surprising and one has to wonder if he has a lead or two on another club where perhaps the opportunities are better.
Rickie Weeks, 1B
Austin Jackson, CF
Robinson Cano, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Mike Zunino, C
Willie Bloomquist, 2B
Brad Miller, SS
Felix Hernandez, SP
• Rickie Weeks is making the start at first base. He has taken early work at the position but this will be his first time at first in a game. Manager Lloyd McClendon is not asking for too much from him today.
“Just catch the ball,” McClendon said. “He played second base so I am sure he will be fine around the bag.”
• Seth Smith is not in the lineup but this is actually a scheduled day off and McClendon decided to stick with it despite the fact that Smith has not been able to play the last two games with the rolled ankle. We should see him in the lineup tomorrow.
• Willie Bloomquist is in the lineup at second today. We have seen him at first, second, third and shortstop this spring and by all appearances he has not been slowed by the knee he had surgically repaired last fall. McClendon is satisfied with what he has seen.
“He’s fine,” McClendon said. “He’s passed all the tests. In my mind he’s a go.”