Friday, June 2, 2023

Intriguing Infield Option For White Sox To Consider


Quailty second baseman are scarce on the free-agent market. While the White Sox did add Leury Garcia, having him as the primary second baseman the entire season may not be the best recipe for success. That leaves the White Sox with two options. Scrape at the bottom of the barrel for a free agent or go with an internal option such as Jake Burger.

If the White Sox choose to sign a more traditional second baseman they could probably get him at a discounted price, freeing up more money to spend on right field and pitching depth. With plenty of quality options in right field still available going with a cost-efficient option at second base is probably the best route to go.

A seldom mentioned option to accomplish this goal is Marwin Gonzalez. Like Leury Garcia he can play all over the field. He is also a World Series champion who has finished in the top 20 of the MVP voting.

Gonzalez is a ten-year veteran who is a lifetime .256 hitter. He has also played nine different positions throughout his career including 172 games at second base. He owns a .980 fielding percentage while playing the four.

His best season came in 2017. Gonzalez hit .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBIs. He finished 19th in the AL MVP voting that season. It should be noted that that was the season the Astros got caught stealing signs by banging on trash cans. Gonzalez was a clear beneficiary as his average dipped to .247 the following season. However, Gonzalez still managed to hit at a league-average level in 2018-2019.

Nobody can deny Gonzalez’s clutch gene. He came up with one of the largest home runs in Astros history. In Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, the Astros were trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning. Gonzalez hit a game-tying home run off of one of the premier closers in the game, Kenley Jansen.

The Astros needed infielders during their 2021 playoff run and added Gonzalez to try and rekindle some old magic. He wound up notching one hit in four at-bats during the World Series and had 2 RBIs.

Gonzalez hit a career-worst .202/.281/.285 in 2021. He is in line for a minor league deal. With a potent lineup around him, he could return to the efficient hitter he once was. His 39 games of postseason experience are certainly a plus. He is also a switch hitter, which is a valuable asset for a team that needs more left-handed hitters. While he cannot be counted on to be a long-term solution he would certainly be worth taking a flier on.

Is Marwin Gonzalez going to move the needle? No. But the other alternatives are very underwhelming. Gonzalez will likely cost under $1 million to sign. Worse case scenario it doesn’t pan out and no harm no foul.

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