With the versatile Marwin Gonzalez still available on the free agent market, should the Blue Jays pursue him?
Despite pitchers and catchers reporting in about three weeks, numerous top free agents remain available. Among those still available include Dallas Keuchel, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Marwin Gonzalez. The Blue Jays have been linked to each and every one of those free agents at least once this offseason, albeit the rumours being more solid for certain players. With time running out this offseason, should Toronto look at signing Marwin Gonzalez?
First and foremost, Marwin Gonzalez is a champion. He’s won the World Series — he knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage. Secondly, he’s extremely versatile. He can play anywhere in the outfield or the infield. Thirdly, he’s a switch hitter, which is definitely useful in any lineup. And last but not least, he has the ability to stay healthy, playing in 120 games or more in each of the last four seasons. Four characteristics the Blue Jays would love to have in any player — winning pedigree, versatility, switch hitting ability, and longevity.
Appearing in 145 games last year, Gonzalez slashed .247/.324/.409, with a fielding percentage of .939% or higher at six of the seven positions he played at, and had 16 homeruns – two more upsides of Gonzalez — fielding efficiency and home run power.
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Assuming the Blue Jays were to pursue and acquire Gonzalez, it wouldn’t be hard to find him a spot in the lineup thanks to his versatility. Third base will likely be manned by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. next season, and the middle infield will likely consist of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Devon Travis, and Brandon Drury, while Justin Smoak and Rowdy Tellez both see time at 1B.
With the infield covered, Gonzalez would presumably find himself playing in the outfield – likely left field. Although both of them showing signs of optimism for the future, Billy McKinney and Dwight Smith Jr. are both still unproven at the major league level, while Teoscar Hernandez’s bat has been inconsistent, and his defence has been less than average.
Making only $5,125,000 as a member of the Houston Astros last year, Gonzalez is in for a hefty pay raise this season, as the site spotrac.com expects the native of Venezuela to be earning $17.9M this upcoming season, which is equal to a four year contract worth $71,768,280.
With the Blue Jays being quiet so far on the free agent market, Gonzalez may be their free agency splash of the offseason. Although unlikely the Blue Jays give Gonzalez a contract for longer than two seasons, if they can find a way to sign him for cheaper than expected, maybe $14-15M per season, Gonzalez could definitely be a great mentor for all the young Blue Jays set to join the team in the upcoming seasons, while providing defensive versatility around the diamond.