Seattle Mariners decline options on Franklin Gutierrez, Joe Saunders

Otto Greule Jr

Both players will become free agents.

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.

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