The Minnesota Twins dipped into a slow free agent market late last year, and with interest in Marwin Gonzalez they may be doing it again.
In a slow MLB free agent market last year, the Minnesota Twins entered late (as in, into spring training) and signed Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison while trading for Jake Odorizzi. It’s been similarly slow this offseason, and Dan Hayes of The Athletic has reported the Twins are interested in Marwin Gonzalez and have discussed the parameters of a three-year deal.
Gonzalez has spent his entire seven-year career with the Houston Astros, with more than 60 games started at all four infield positions as well as left field.
He posted a .247/.324/.409 slash-line with 16 home runs, 68 RBI last year, but in 2017 he hit .303/.377/.530 (.907 OPS) with 23 home runs and 90 RBI over 134 games.
Hayes passed along the idea of “strong competition” for other teams on Gonzalez, which may be pushing the willingness to go to a three-year deal for him.
How he’d fit into the Twins lineup for 2019 is a question, other than being a switch hitter in a right-handed heavy lineup and being able to be a fill in at all four infield spots as well as probably both corner outfield posts.
Looking strictly at 2018, Gonzalez played 73 games (65 starts) in left field, 39 games (29 starts) at shortstop, 32 games (19 starts) at second base, 24 games (21 starts) at first base and three games (two starts) at third base.
He could see a little time at all of those spots, but pure position flexibility should not be mistaken for being particularly good defensively at any of those positions.
Gonzalez’s best defensive position, as measured by Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating in his career (via FanGraphs), is left field. With Eddie Rosario in place, the Twins don’t have a need in left field.
Coming from a winning team like the Astros, Gonzalez may bring some intangible value to the clubhouse beyond whatever he will offer on the field. But barring injuries, his run of seasons with over 500 plate appearances stands to end in 2019 if he signs with the Twins.