Chicago Cubs

Carlos Gonzalez lands with Cubs on Minor League deal

After being let go by the Cleveland Indians last week, Carlos Gonzalez has landed with the Chicago Cubs on a Minor League deal.

Last Tuesday night, on May 21, Carlos Gonzalez hit cleanup for the Cleveland Indians as he had done in four of six games prior. But a .210/.282/.275 slash-line got him designated for assignment the next day. The 33-year-old outfielder got little interest as a free agent last offseason, so another Minor League deal was in order if he got another opportunity.

On Thursday, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, the Chicago Cubs signed Gonzalez to a Minor League deal. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Gonzalez will head to Triple-A Des Moines, with an expectation he’ll be called up to the big leagues soon.

Gonzalez has a career OPS+ of 113 with 233 home runs over 5,502 Major League plate appearances. But he was last productive over a full season in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies, when he slash-lined .298/.350/.505 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI. Over his last two full seasons with the Rockies, he posted a .779 OPS with 30 home runs and 121 RBI over 268 total games.

Heyman suggested Gonzalez will slot in as a left-handed bench bat for the Cubs, and that’s a role that should allow him to bring value.

For his career, Gonzalez has an .899 OPS against right-handed pitching, compared to a .725 OPS against left-handers. His batting average is also 40 points higher against right-handers (.298 vs. .258).

But over the last two seasons, Gonzalez’s platoon splits have been even more dramatic by some measures.

In 2017, he had a .283/.373/.463 slash-line against right-handers compared to a .206/.241/.321 against left-handers. Last year he had a .284/.344/.485 slash-line, with a .259/.295/.424 mark against lefties. Yet somehow, he had 25.6 percent and 28.9 percent of his plate appearances in those respective seasons against southpaws.

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The Indians didn’t have much choice but to trot him out there a lot early this season, but Gonzalez hit .133 with a .390 OPS against left-handers for them. The Cubs can deploy him more effectively, and they’ve taken a no-risk flier to bolster their bench.

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