The Seattle Mariners have declined the options on the contracts of outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and pitcher Joe Saunders, the team announced Friday. Gutierrez had a $7.5 million team option, but will receive a $500,000 buyout instead; Saunders will had an $8 million mutual option, but will receive a $900,000 buyout, according to Ryan Divish of the News Tribune. Both players will become free agents.
Gutierrez showed promise in 2009 when he hit 18 home runs and posted a .764 OPS, and his sterling defense in center field earned him a Gold Glove in 2010. However, he struggled to stay on the field due to a variety of injuries which limited him to just 173 games over the last three seasons combined. In 2013, the 30-year-old batted .248/.273/.503 with 10 home runs in 151 plate appearances while appearing in just 41 games due to problems with his hamstring.
Saunders was also disappointing in 2013 after signing a one-year contract with the Mariners. The left-hander made 32 starts, but posted a subpar 5.26 ERA in 183 innings. The 32-year-old has pitched for four different teams in the last four seasons, including the Mariners, Orioles, Diamondbacks and Angels. The Mariners figure to have a strong rotation in 2014, with top prospects James Paxton and Taijuan Walker poised to join veteran standouts Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.