Swiss-army knife Marwin Gonzalez is one of several big-name, unsigned free agents. The former Houston Astro could fit on almost any Major League roster, but interest has been relatively limited thus far.
The Yankees were a potential fit, then they signed Troy Tulowitzki and D.J. LeMahieu. The Nationals made a lot of sense, then they signed Brian Dozier. It has been an ice-cold offseason, with only a handful of multi-year contracts being handed out. Gonzalez was expected to be a man in high demand.
Gonzalez is represented by super-agent and king of quotes, Scott Boras. The demands are likely high, but it’s more understandable for Gonzalez than some other free agents.
A .907 OPS in the Astros’ World Series winning 2017 made Gonzalez a big name. He had a down year in 2018 which might be concerning potential suitors – 2017 is the exception rather than the rule across his career.
It’s not hard finding a spot for Gonzalez. Here are three teams that are most in need of the World Series champion switch-hitter.
Gonzalez’s versatility would be key for Oakland, but there’s probably an everyday spot for him in the outfield. Nicholas Martini is projected to start in left for the Athletics. Martini was solid enough in 55 games last season, though the extra depth would be handy.
As ever, the Athletics are a long shot. Gonzalez is going to be asking for long deal and a relatively high AAV. Oakland’s current payroll is under $80 million per Spotrac with Khris Davis the only player being paid more than $7 million.
It’s a lot of money, particularly for Oakland, for a player that is a nice complementary piece rather than a difference-maker.
This season could be Colorado’s last with Nolan Arenado. So far, their only move to improve the team was signing Daniel Murphy. Seeing as they are not going to trade Arenado, the Rockies should be going all out to compete in 2019.
Gonzalez is a player that would help them do that. He can fill in at second after D.J. LeMahieu’s departure and cover the outfield corners vacated by Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. Colorado need to improve their line-up and signing Gonzalez does that – it should be that simple for them right now.
Their $140 million payroll could be putting them off a move, of course. Overpaying relievers and Charlie Blackmon’s contract have bloated their wage bill, though they remain nearly $50 million under the tax.
Few teams should be as win now as the Rockies. Overpaying for Gonzalez to deepen their line-up makes sense in Arenado’s final year.
The White Sox are an intriguing team for Gonzalez primarily because of their interest in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The rebuild is ending in the Windy City, and they currently have just $12.5 million of committed spending in 2020.
With Daniel Palka, Yolmer Sanchez and Jon Jay all set to be in Chicago’s line-up, Gonzalez would have be a significant upgrade at Guaranteed Rate Field. Yonder Alonso and Jose Abreu will be the heart of the order in 2019 – Gonzalez is a good building block around that pairing as they await Eloy Jimenez.
He is an ideal acquisition if Chicago land one of the big two. On his own, it would be a less sensible move, though his versatility means he will likely still be able to contribute once the prospects are thriving.
The White Sox have the spending power and financial flexibility to make a deal like this one. It feels like Harper and Machado’s decisions will dictate the path the south siders take in the remainder of the offseason.