We’re currently in the first week of spring training workouts, and one of the best utility men in all of baseball is still a free agent. The negotiations for a deal with a new club have been complicated for Marwin Gonzalez this offseason, but it looks like the Minnesota Twins could be a team who is showing serious interest in the former Houston Astros star.
Gonzalez played for the ‘Stros from 2012-18, compiling a .264 average during that span with 76 home runs. He has spent his entire major league career to this point in Houston. When he went on the market as a free agent, it seemed like a no-brainer for a team that lacked depth to sign him immediately. This is a guy who has played every single position on the field except pitcher and catcher. He gives any club a ton of versatility.
That’s where the Twins come in. According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, Minnesota is interested in the ballpark of a three-year deal for Gonzalez. They face some competition for the 29-year-old, though, with the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians both showing interest in the Venezuelan.
Gonzalez had a career year in 2017, hitting .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs. In 2018 he slowed down, but still he posted respectable numbers with 16 homers and a .247 average. The most valuable thing that Gonzalez brings to any club is his ability to play all over. There aren’t a lot of guys in the big leagues who can do that. He is a solid infielder who can play up the middle or at the corners. Put him in the outfield and he’s athletic enough to get the job done out there as well.
Why he is good for the Twins
Minnesota lacks a lot of depth all over the diamond. Ehire Adrianza is a guy who is on the Twins depth chart at third base, shortstop, and second base. Miguel Sano, who has shown glimpses of outstanding power at the plate, hasn’t played more than 116 games in a season at the hot corner. He has been very injury prone during his big league career so far. Having a guy like Gonzalez, who can play third base and produce offensively from both sides of the plate, is crucial if Sano goes down. Jorge Polanco missed substantial time at shortstop last year because of PED use, which paved the way for Adrianza to play short. But if Polanco did go down with an injury this year, Gonzalez would be the obvious option to play shortstop if the Twins sign him. That’s if Sano isn’t injured as well.
Gonzalez played the bulk of his games last season (79) with the Astros in left field. That’s because their infield is absolutely stacked with Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa up the middle and Alex Bregman at third base. Gonzalez played 39 games at shortstop when Correa was hurt, so he’s definitely experienced there. Minnesota doesn’t have the same type of stars, so Gonzalez would probably see most of his playing time playing infield.
They need to sign him immediately
If the Twins are serious about signing Gonzalez, they need to do so very soon. It’s important that he gets into spring training and gets at-bats. If they wait too long, it could take him some time to get back in the swing of things and get used to live pitching again.
It’s a big surprise that he’s not already signed. Gonzalez offers versatility, offensive production, and the ability to switch hit. He would be a nice addition to any organization.
If Minnesota can agree to a deal with Gonzalez, it would give them an experienced major leaguer who can contribute in many ways.