On Friday, the Boston Red Sox designated Marwin Gonzalez for assignment as a corresponding move due to their recent roster shuffle. The Houston Astros, who have run thin on reliable utility players behind Aledmys Diaz, could be in the running to reel in Gonzalez.
After Abraham Toro was dealt for a high-end reliever, Diaz’s return was a blessing as Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel continue to sit on the injured list. With Robel Garcia and Jacob Wilson not showing much leverage, Taylor Jones has hit a recent hot streak in his promotion.
The roster can shake out in a multitude of ways over the next month, but the addition of Gonzalez can be head scratching at first glance. The switch-hitter slashed to a .202/.281/.285 tune in 77 games with an OPS south of .600.
Can a Marwin Gonzalez addition change the course of the utility room for the Astros?
While a positive member of the clubhouse for close to seven years, Gonzalez would easily be a morale booster for a couple of his former teammates that are still in the organization. The switch-hitter is no where he once was, but with his versatility in the field, he might as well be an upgrade over Garcia or Wilson.
Although a possible lateral move, Gonzalez offers more gloves than that of Garcia and Wilson. His bat isn’t hitting to what it did in 2017, but he provides defense across all infield positions along with left field.
Garcia is currently back in the minor leagues, as Jones and Wilson man the utility roles behind Diaz. But with his offensive production not translating in the major-leagues, the switch-hitter could be upgraded by Gonzalez.
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Currently, the 40-man roster is full, requiring a player to be DFA’d if the Astros bring in Gonzalez. Moving a pitcher to the 60-day IL doesn’t seem plausible for the long run, as the hitter they are bringing in isn’t drastically changing the lineup or active roster.
As Gonzalez makes $3 million this season, his prorated salary would not push the luxury tax threshold for the Astros. This gives the organization the ability to explore the possibility of bringing in a clubhouse favorite.
It is in general manager James Click’s hands, as Gonzalez might be eyed by a few teams looking to bolster their infield reserves nearing September. Another downside would be his lack of options, as Garcia and Wilson still have this possibility. If this isn’t in the Astros future, it would behoove the franchise to give CJ Hinojosa a shot instead.