Houston Astros’ fans are mourning the loss of Marwin Gonzalez to the Minnesota Twins. Is it too much to ask of Aledmys Diaz to step in as his replacement?
Marwin Gonzalez has left the Astros and the fans are lamenting his departure on social media, and rightly so. Gonzalez was a great teammate and a part of the camaraderie that helped this team win a World Series two years ago. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the business and sometimes we lose our favorite players, but we gain new ones, as in Aledmys Diaz.
Diaz, acquired in an offseason trade, is now the heir apparent to play the role of the versatile utility player. With all emotions aside, there shouldn’t be a drop off in performance with Diaz playing in place of Gonzalez.
Diaz has played primarily the shortstop position over his three-year career. He also has quite a few games at second base under his belt, with a few at third and in the outfield. Manager A. J. Hinch plans to give Diaz some added time at various positions during Spring Training to hone his skills, allowing him to be more versatile.
"“I want to see Diaz play all four infield positions and potentially two outfield positions on the corners,” said Hinch, who referred to the plan as one of his biggest goals of the spring. “We may not have enough time to do that as much as we want. As funny as that sounds, that’s a lot to ask out of one guy. But I would like to move him around a little bit. I know he can play shortstop — he may see the least amount of time at shortstop.”"
Offensively, Diaz’s numbers should be as good as what Gonzalez had, if not even better. Over his career, he has a slash line of .275/.325/.458, compared to the .264/.318/.419 that Gonzalez had over his career. Diaz has a 162 game average of 21 HRs, 71 RBIs, and 79 runs. That’s a significant increase in performance over Gonzalez’s average of 15 HRs, 60 RBIs, and 62 runs.
Yes, we will all miss seeing Gonzalez on the field and in the dugout, but don’t short change the abilities and desire to help the team that Diaz possesses. He’s excited and willing to do whatever the team asks of him. “He’s up for it,” Hinch said. “He’s excited about it and he knows that’s his way to contribute and get into the lineup, is to move around a little bit.”