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Why in the heck is Franklin Gutierrez on the restricted list?

Feb 13, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT

gutierrez getty Getty Images

The sad news about Franklin Gutierrez’s health comes with some baffling news as well: he’s been placed on the restricted list by the Mariners. By being on the restricted list, Gutierrez is not paid his $1 million contract for 2014. He does not accrue service time either which, presumably, means that if he comes back next year he’s still under Mariners control.

Question: why in the heck is he on the restricted list?

The Restricted list is defined by Rule 15 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball. This is it:

(a) RESTRICTED LIST. If, without permission from a player’s Major or Minor
League Club, a player fails, within 10 days of the opening of the player’s Club’s
championship season, to report to, or contract with, the player’s Club, the player may be
reported by the Club to the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee for
placement on the “Restricted List.” A player on the Restricted List shall not be eligible
to play for any Major or Minor League Club.

Before the start of the championship season but not before January 1, a Major or
Minor League Club also may report for placement on the Restricted List any player,
whether or not under contract for the current season, who has given the Club written or
telegraphic notification that the player will not report until 30 days or more after the
opening of the championship season. Requests to the Commissioner or the
Commissioner’s designee shall be accompanied by the notification which the Club
received from the player.

The Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee may place a Major or Minor
League Reserve List player on the Restricted List if the player’s Club certifies that
unusual circumstances exist.

Normally the restricted list is used as a disciplinary or quasi-disciplinary thing. Like, say, a player is arrested. Or is in drug rehab. Or has left the team for unauthorized purposes. It’s not used to avoid paying players who are sick or injured.

The interesting twist here is that Gutierrez, while apparently, sick, has not reported to camp. While this is only speculation, he apparently decided that he was so sick and so not able to play that reporting wasn’t necessary. I would assume that, based on this, the Mariners are taking the position that Gutierrez has not reported per Rule 15. If he had shown up and was shown to be sick, presumably the Mariners would have no choice but to put him on the disabled list. If he were on the 60-day DL, he wouldn’t count against the 40-man roster. And he would still be paid.  If he asked to be absent from camp and that permission was not granted by the Mariners, man, where do they get off?

No matter the case, I do wonder if the MLBPA and the league is going to allow this move to stand. Because, even if it’s technically true that Gutierrez has not reported, he is essentially being punished for being too ill to play baseball. And that’s not the point of the restricted list.

  1. recoveringcubsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Hey, Craig, times are tough in MLB. They’re going to lose a bunch of wages lawsuits, they can’t even afford pensions for low-paid employees, and now you want them to look out for the sick? What’s next, “don’t kick widows and orphans”??

    Socialist.

  2. raysfan1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I’ve no idea, really, but might this be something both sides agreed to? The tweet from the Seattle Times reporter indicated Gutierrez felt it would be unfair to the team to report.

    • billybawl - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      This. They may have discussed this possibility when he signed his one-year deal in Dec. Possible that Gutierrez is basically conceding he’s retired.

    • dan1111 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:20 AM

      Agreed. Assuming this is some kind of rip-off move by the Mariners, with zero evidence of that, is lame.

    • Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      “Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the center fielder has been placed on the restricted list after symptoms related to his gastrointestinal problems returned, writing: “Gutierrez didn’t feel it was fair to the Mariners to come to spring training in his condition and has decided to focus on his health.”’

      Just two articles previous on this site. Craig didn’t read it, either.

  3. chunkala - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Kudos to Mariners. You want to grant him credit for playing even though he’s not playing? Are you feeling well?

    • pipkin42 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      I regret that I have but one thumbs-down to give.

      • tfbuckfutter - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        You only got one thumb?

        What happened to your other one? Born that way? Did you lose it later in life? Was the accident interesting? Were you drunk.

        I bet you were drunk. That’s how I lost my phone once.

      • ltzep75 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        Anyone who paraphrases Nathan Hale is A – OK in my book.

  4. facebookuser111 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    Normally I would be angry at the teams actions, but considering they have already paid him millions not to play the last two seasons it would be getting to be a little too much.

  5. paul621 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    It would be a tricky DL situation if his symptoms come and go to the point that he could play a good chunk of the season. If he WANTS to sit out and get healthy but isn’t actually unable to play, a DL stint could be problematic.

    Also, the team may have thought the rule didn’t apply to them because of all the references to “championship season.”

  6. yankeefan1950 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    You want the MLBPA to look into this? Haven’t you noticed that MLB has devoured the union and its now a division of the commissioner’s office?

  7. davidpom50 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    My guess would be this is Gutierrez’s choice, so as not to accrue time against his 1 year contract, because he thinks he has a chance to be healthy next year. After missing another season, he might not be able to find a major league deal. This way, he’s got one already.

    • clemente2 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      I want to wait a year to be paid a million dollars. My thoughts exactly.

      • davidpom50 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        More along the lines of “I want to wait a year to be paid a million dollars, because if I don’t wait, my career is over and that’s the last million I’ll ever make in baseball. If I wait, it might not be.”

    • pipkin42 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:48 AM

      I doubt that’s how MLB contracts work, though I’d love to be proven wrong. But it’s gotta be dated specifically when signed, I’m guessing. There’s a Uniform Player Contract that is collectively bargained, and it must take this into account.

  8. jeffbbf - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Geez, do a little research before you roast the Mariners. The guy called Zduriencik a few days ago and told him he was not going to play in 2014. Didn’t say he couldn’t play. Didn’t say he wanted to play. Didn’t say he would play as much as his symptoms would let him. Just said he wasn’t showing up because his battle with, what both parties knew, was a pre-existing condition when the contract was signed. I give Gutierrez a lot of credit for not just showing up to collect his money. We simply do not know what the Mariners are going to do with or for Gutierrez: money-wise, rehab-wise, whatever. The restricted list was probably the right move by the Mariners, on the administrative side of things, and fits in quite well with the 2nd paragraph of section (a). Saves a lot of headaches. The 60 day DL may not have been the right thing to do, because the symptons of this awful disease come and go, and Gutierrez would basically have to be under the team’s control in terms of his medical treatment – something Gutierrez may not want. Now, just put away the flamethrower and see what the Mariners decide to do to help Franklin.

    • rdanie29 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      I completely agree. The problem is that most of these morons are so busy flapping their jaws to actually either; 1. read previously written articles, or 2. do some frickin research themselves. Since Gutierrez fulfilled the requirements of section 1, paragraph 2 by notifying the Mariners that he would not be playing this year, the Mariners did what they should have done. Personally I am tired of seeing players sign contracts when they know full well that they can’t play.

    • djpostl - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:37 AM

      “Just said he wasn’t showing up because his battle with, what both parties knew, was a pre-existing condition when the contract was signed

      Hrm.

      Both parties were aware of said condition, they both felt comfortable enough signing the deal but as soon as said condition becomes an issue the Mariners decide “eh, we don’t feel like honoring the deal so let’s find a way to play semantic games and get out of it”.

      Tell me again how it’s the player who is trying to pull a fast one…

      • pipkin42 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:49 AM

        djpostl nailed it.

      • jrd8523 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:19 AM

        He called the team to tell them he was not showing up for 2014. He didn’t go visit a team doctor, or a team trainer. Just called them to tell them he can’t play, and he’ll see them in 2015. Do people realize that players are actually required to verify what they are claiming is true. You can’t just say over the telephone that I can’t play 2014, see you later!

        It’s not surprising a that player who took no steps beyond a brief phone call to explain why he is AWOL is on the restricted list. Only on Hardballtalk.

      • jeffbbf - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Sigh…like dealing with 5 year olds….nobody said the player is trying to pull a fast one. It’s been an *issue* for several years. The Mariners were perfectly willing to deal with it this year, again. It appears Gutierrez simply didn’t want to do the same. That’s not trying to pull a fast one. That’s a guy who simply decided he’d rather stay home than put himself through another year of on and off GI torture during games, on a plane, in a hotel, etc. Who can blame him?

  9. Carl Hancock - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    Why is this being made into some sort of controversy? What is this Deadspin?

  10. astiowa - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    My question would be “Why in the heck would Franklin Gutierrez be put on the 60 day dl?” Having a medical condition of some sort alone isn’t enough to be eligible. The medical condition he has is not curable, this isn’t a case where you could go on the DL to rest up and come back healthy. This condition is the type that has to be managed for the rest of your life. This would be like putting someone on the 60 day DL for asthma, diabetes, or another long-term chronic managed disease. You might have to put them on the 15 day if you need to adjust their treatment; but you do that with the intention of bringing them back as soon as adjustments are made. Not to leave them there for a year.

    This simply isn’t a temporary DL situation, this isn’t something where he physically could not play at all for some length of time. It’s a long-term day-by-day question of how much he could perform. If you could DL someone for a condition like this, it wouldn’t be much further of a stretch to DL someone for being old and sore. If you can’t DL a player to give him some time off because he’s 35, you can’t DL them for this.

  11. yordo - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Maybe he has a conscience and doesn’t like free money.

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