There are very few teams out there that couldn’t use a player like Marwin Gonzalez. For his career’s,
he’s an above average hitter, and is just a season removed from a 144 wRC+. In addition, he’s pretty versatile in the field. He played over 100 innings at four different positions last year, and got at least a couple innings everywhere but pitcher and catcher.
In recent days, we’ve seen the Yankees somewhat connected to Gonzalez. Maybe that’s just someone using him as a bargaining tool, but maybe it’s real. If it is real, is he worth going after?
Gonzalez will be 30 by the time opening day comes around, and in his eighth season in the major leagues. He is one of the few Astros that played for the tire fire teams of 2012-13 and made it all the way to the World Series winning squad of 2017. He himself became one of many memorable GIFs from Houston’s rebuilding period back in the day.
As the Astros got better, Gonzalez also improved, putting up 1.5 fWAR in a bench role on the 2015 Houston team. Things culminated in 2017 when Gonzalez helped the Astros win the World Series, hitting 23 home runs and accumulating 4.0 WAR. He couldn’t quite replicate his 2017 season this past year, but he was still an above average hitter, just as he has been for his career.
His main selling point is his versatility. Gonzalez has played shortstop more than anywhere else in his career, but in recent years he’s spent an increasing amount of time in left field. An extremely large part of that shift is because the Astros also employ Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman, so infield innings are hard to come by. At least some of that is also down to the fact that a lot of his defensive numbers in the infield have declined in recent years.
Over the past couple seasons, his best defensive position has been left field. While it’s not a bad thing to have a super-utilityman, Gonzalez’s best position is also where he would be least useful for the Yankees.
That being said, the Yankees do need an infielder, at least for the first couple months of the season with Didi Gregorius out. If they did bring Gonzalez in, he might not be the one to go to shortstop, but he could free up Gleyber Torres to move there. Once Gregorius came back, you either have an insurance policy if he struggles, or a pretty good super-utilityman.
The rumors that the Yankees are actually interested in Gonzalez seem to be a recent development, as opposed to something that’s been talked about all offseason. He was mentioned alongside Josh Harrison, which leads to a question: Is that real, or is this some sort of attempt at posturing in conjunction with possible Manny Machado negotiations?
Gonzalez is a good player, but he’s not Machado. If the Yankees are looking to bring in an infielder, the two players careers aren’t really comparable, even with Gonzalez’s 2017. They should probably go with Machado. Maybe they know that and are posturing that they’re willing to go with someone else. Then again, it could be that they’d just sign him as opposed to giving Machado a giant deal. We’ve seen the Yankees take the cheaper option a lot in recent years.
MLB Trade Rumors projected him to get a four-year, $36 million deal, so it’s not as if he’s a super cheap alternative. It’s hard to picture a Gonzalez deal turning out horribly considering what he can do. There’s just a better option out there.