The Milwaukee Brewers have catcher Yasmani Grandal in the fold for 2019 and possibly beyond. Could the Brewers add another free agent prize on a short term deal like super utility man Marwin Gonzalez?
The lack of rumors around free agent utility man Marwin Gonzalez has been a surprise. Gonzalez can play all over the field, hit for power, and hit for average. He’s also only 29 years old, so it’s not like he’s aged himself out of a job. There’s a lot to like with Gonzalez, and he could end up as the answer to the issues the Milwaukee Brewers have at second base.
How did Gonzalez perform in 2018?
Gonzalez wasn’t as awesome as he was in 2017, but he still turned in a quality season. He slashed .247/.324/.409 in 145 games for the Houston Astros last year. Gonzalez clubbed 16 homers, stole two bases, drove in 68 runs, and scored 61 times. His 1.6 WAR was less than half of the 4.0 mark he posted in 2017.
He also played every position on the diamond except pitcher and catcher at least once in 2018.
Why isn’t there more interest in Gonzalez?
Well, 2017 looks more like the outlier than the norm. Gonzalez broke out with a .303/.377/.530 slash line in 134 games in 2017. He doesn’t have another season, even in the Minors, that comes close to what he produced in 2017.
Gonzalez is one of the most versatile players in the league on defense, but he’s fairly mediocre on offense.
Could he sign a one-year deal?
Any remaining free agent not named Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or Dallas Keuchel could end up with a one-year deal this year. There’s a very good chance that Gonzalez would sign a one-year ‘prove-it’ contract like Yasmani Grandal did and try again next off season. A repeat of his career year would like net Gonzalez the multi-year deal he’s been looking for.
Can Gonzalez handle second base?
Yes. He has over 600 innings in the Majors at second base, and has only committed four errors. He’s not the rangiest guy in the league, but neither is Asdrubal Cabrera. The Milwaukee Brewers could mask a lot of Gonzalez’ deficiencies by shifting. He can also slide over to third, and allow Travis Shaw to cover second once in a while.
Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns has already surprised everyone by bringing Grandal onto the team on a one-year deal. Why can’t he shock everyone again by signing Gonzalez to a similar contract? Gonzalez offers versatility that Brewers covet, and he’s better at the plate than the current options for second base. Cobbling together 162 games between Gonzalez, Shaw, Hernan Perez, and Cory Spangenberg could be the Brewers best option at second base.