Marwin Gonzalez would be an All-Star and everyday starter on any other team in the big leagues. For now, the 28-year-old routinely shifts from left field, to right field, to first base, to second base, to third base, to shortstop, just looking for a spot in the Houston Astros deadly lineup.
Notice how we wrote for now. In a 2018-19 free agency class destined to be perhaps the greatest and costliest ever, Gonzalez should not be overlooked, even with Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Charlie Blackmon, David Price, and Brian Dozier among many others on the market.
Gonzalez is a free agent going into 2019, after Houston exercised their club option on Gonzalez for 2018 back in November. His salary for the 2018 season is slated to be $5,125,000 — and with Scott Boras representing the Venezuelan, Gonzalez won’t be paid that little ever again.
Gonzalez had the best season of his career last year, in a campaign during which many other Astros followed suit, slashing .303/.377/.530 with the sixth-best on base plus slugging (.907) in the American League. He paced the World Series champs in runs batted in with 90 and showed his unparalleled versatility by playing six different positions, including three in the postseason.
Not to mention, Gonzalez is a switch-hitter. He hit .322 with 18 home runs batting as a lefty against right-hander pitchers, and with MLB becoming increasingly about strategy, his multi-faceted plate presence is of immense value.
There are a number of moving parts to a longterm, cash-flooded Gonzalez contract next offseason, but all look promising for the utilityman. The Astros will be focused on inking new deals with AL Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve, former Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa, and World Series MVP George Springer.
This means it isn’t likely Gonzalez wears the Astros’ orange and blue after 2018. Then, account for this offseason being the slowest and least eventful in recent memory. Teams are conserving their finances for a 2018-19 splash in that aforementioned monsoon of free agent talent (and, well, collusion, but I digress).
Not every club is going to land a Harper, a Kershaw, or a Machado. You can splurge on a Gonzalez instead and be happy with it. Gonzalez’s breakout year not only showed masterful two-way command, but exhibited versatility that not many other players — if any, at all — can say they possess.
What team will sign Gonzalez is to be seen next offseason, though it would be the Washington Nationals if I could make an educated guess. With Harper and Daniel Murphy potentially off the books in 2018-19, a team still looking to contend with the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon will have some holes to fill.
All in all, Marwin Gonzalez is a stud on a team with a myriad of them. Any team would be smart to snag an unheralded Gonzalez in a free agent market loaded with future Hall of Famers.