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Dodgers reportedly add Franklin Gutierrez to crowded outfield mix

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11-year veteran returns to original organization

Cardinals v Dodgers
13 years later, Franklin Gutierrez is a Dodger again.
Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

We can apparently add one more to the Dodgers’ crowded outfield mix, with the club reportedly signing Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year contract, per Manolo Hernandez of Beisbol Porgotas.

Gutierrez will earn $2.6 million in 2017 with another potential $400,000 in incentives, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The Dodgers have not yet confirmed the deal.

Gutierrez, who turns 34 in 11 days, hit .246/.329/.452 with 14 home runs in 98 games for the Mariners in 2016. He was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur out of Venezuela in 2000, and as a minor leaguer was traded in spring training 2004 to the Indians for Milton Bradley.

At his peak, Gutierrez was one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, but he hasn’t played the position since 2013. After missing all of the 2014 season, he rated above average as a left fielder in 2015, but checked in below average across the board in the corners in 2016, with 47 of his 55 starts in right field.

The Dodgers were adamant about trying to improve against left-handed pitching, and Gutierrez certainly figures to help in that regard. The right-hander hit .280/.373/.511 against southpaws in 2016, and in his career he has hit .289/.351/.495 against lefties with a 129 wRC+.

Once the Gutierrez deal becomes official, the Dodgers will need to make a corresponding move on the 40-man roster, as they will also have to do to finalize the Sergio Romo deal.

Where Gutierrez fits on the Dodgers isn’t yet known, but he gives them another of many options in the outfield. From the right side, Gutierrez joins Yasiel Puig, Trayce Thompson, Scott Van Slyke, Darin Ruf, and utility man Kiké Hernandez, all of whom but Ruf have options.

From the left side, there is Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles and Andre Ethier.