According to MLB Trade Rumors, veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez was signed early this afternoon to a one-year, $1.5 million dollar contract with the Milwaukee Brewers to return for 2013.
It’s an affordable move, and not entirely unexpected, to add a little more depth and some veteran help to the middle infield for the Milwaukee Brewers. Alex Gonzalez was a member of the 2012 Brewers roster before an ACL injury forced him to the sidelines for the season.
The main impetus behind this move was to help out the young Jean Segura, despite the 22 year-old’s exciting winter league play, continue to improve at a Major League level. Alex Gonzalez is a solid and consistent defensive player that can not only shore up the middle of the infield throughout the season – but can also bring Segura up to speed with his glove as well.
Gonzalez has never been the type of offensive player that will blow you away, but in 2012 he was a bright spot for Milwaukee in an otherwise forgettable start. Alex Gonzalez appeared in only 24 games before the injury set in, but put up an impressive .259/.326/.457 slash line with four home runs and 15 RBI over his shortened season. In 2011, his last full season of baseball, Gonzalez was fifth in the National League in defensive WAR, and he has the sixth highest putouts of any active shortstop in the league.
What Alex Gonzalez got out of this deal was a chance to play on a Major League roster again. The Milwaukee Brewers are taking a chance on that repaired leg of his, hoping experience and consistency can trump concern. The Brewers, in turn, got an inexpensive chance to add depth to their roster, and sweetened pot for Gonzalez with about $1 million in reported incentives for the soon-to-be 36 year-old infielder.
Fans and coaches alike are no doubt hoping that the numbers they saw early in 2012 will keep on track, but it is unlikely in my opinion that we will see that much of him in 2013. Jean Segura is the obvious choice as the starter, and Gonzalez will likely fill in for Segura’s rest days – there is some speculation that he could fill at second base should Rickie Weeks need a break for any reason, but in truth that role will probably not be utilized.
Either way, those whispers of more infield help coming Milwaukee’s way were brought forward today. Alex Gonzalez was an obvious choice for the signing, both because of his resume and his price tag. Again, Milwaukee didn’t make a sexy pick – but what is when it comes to reserve players? I think it was a solid signing that fills a definite need in Milwaukee’s roster. Whether or not it will breed success is another story altogether.