Dodgers sign Gutierrez to one-year deal

Team expects to use veteran outfielder as 'lefty-killer' off bench

Dodgers sign Gutierrez to one-year deal

LOS ANGELES -- On Monday, the Dodgers announced the signing of former Gold Glove outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year contract.

Gutierrez adds a proven right-handed bat to the bench and offers protection with right-handed-hitting outfielders Scott Van Slyke and Trayce Thompson coming off injuries.

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In 2016, Gutierrez played 98 games for the Mariners, posting a .246/.329/.452 slash line. He finished in a tie for second in the American League with 12 home runs against left-handed pitchers.

"He's a lefty-killer, he'll get opportunities in that regard," said manager Dave Roberts. "He can defend. We'll move him around and see how he handles it. Right now, we see him against left-handed pitching."

Roberts on Dodgers' 2017 depth

Management was determined during the offseason to balance the offense by adding right-handed bats. To that end, Logan Forsythe was acquired to start at second base. Switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal worked in the offseason to improve his right-handed bat, and Gutierrez was added to be at least a late-inning threat off the bench, if not a platoon outfielder.

"We restructured the roster a little bit, but it was also a perfect storm against lefties," said Roberts. "Guys had career lows, and that should balance itself out, but I think going into the season I like us against lefties or righties."

Gutierrez, who turns 34 on Tuesday, was originally a Dodgers farmhand before being sent to Cleveland in a 2004 deal involving Milton Bradley. His best offensive season was in 2010 with Seattle -- he hit .283 with 18 homers and 70 RBIs -- and he won a Gold Glove there in 2011.

Roberts said he and Gutierrez were in Dodgers camp together in 2003.

"He was a lot lighter, but always a really good athlete, good defender. He's carved out a nice career," said Roberts. "It's good we have a history. He looks great."

Gutierrez took the place on the roster opened by the Sunday trade of reliever Vidal Nuno to Baltimore.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.