Mariners agree four-year extension with Franklin Gutierrez

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The Seattle Mariners have agreed terms with Venezuelan outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on a four-year contract extension with a potential fifth season in 2014, the club said on Friday in a statement.

"Franklin had a breakthrough season last year but the exciting thing for us is that we believe he will only continue to get better," said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik.

"We feel he was the best defensive center fielder in the American League last year, and he was a huge part of the success of our pitching staff. Offensively, his combination of speed and power is a perfect fit for our club and he is an outstanding person," he added.

The 26-year-old Gutierrez hit .283 (160x565) with 85 runs scored, 24 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs and 70 RBI in 153 games with Seattle in 2009.

He set career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including games, at-bats, runs scored, hits, home runs and RBI.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; editing by Nick Mulvenney)