The desolate market for free agent Marwin Gonzalez is quite baffling. Does a reunion with the Houston Astros make sense?
The Houston Astros‘ offseason can be summed up into one word; under-whelming. GM Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane have both been vocal of adding another bat to the team; and while there are camps for Bryce Harper, why not Gonzalez?
Luhnow, like clock-work, has made small, calculated, and shrewd moves to acquire talent. Nothing sexy, nothing earth shattering, but very much Jeff Luhnow type moves. Gathering players like Robinson Chorinos, Aledmys Diaz, Michael Brantley; and most recently Wade Miley.
However, we still sit and notice that the most versatile and familiar hero is still out in the market. Why?
As previously broken down by CTH’s own Cody Poage, (a fantastic in-depth analysis found here), the projected payroll for the Houston Astros sits at $176,731,429. Well within the range to add more players of quality and of substance.
Additionally, per Sportrac, the current market for Marwin sits at 17.9 million, which is well around the going rate for 30-year-old infielders. As evident by the recent signings of DJ LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie.
LeMahieu and Lowrie were both signed to two-year deals. LeMahieu coming in at 2 yr/$24 million and Lowrie at 2 yr/$20 million. Both also coming off very productive years. LeMahieu snagging his third Gold Glove, as well as posting a respectable .276/.428/.749 slash line. Lowrie coming off a 2018 season that rewarded him with an All-Star nod and .267/.448/.801 slash line.
How does that stack up with Gonzalez though? Marwin only hit .247 in 2018, but maintained a relatively consistent OBP and OPS of .324 and .733 (2017 excluded). Gonzalez’s value lies more in his defensive flexibility.
Through out his career Gonzalez has played every position except for catcher and pitcher for the Astros. This to me would be well worth a re-sign, based solely on the injury history of Correa and the lack of solidified production in left-field.
The Astros still have around $30 million to play with to stay under the CBA enforced luxury tax of $206. A two-year pact shouldn’t be off the table, and wouldn’t be a huge investment to negate any time from a young up and comer, say, Kyle Tucker.
Fans may be enamored with the 2017 version of Marwin Gonzalez, and I don’t anticipate that to be the norm for him going forward in his career. However, his consistent level of play, his sound defense and flexibility is something that can not be ignored.
In an offseason that has been lacking, this is exactly the type of move the Astros need to make, and need to make now.