In their pursuit to upgrade their depth at second base, the Red Sox are reportedly “in” on free-agent utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Per Cotillo, Gonzalez is “one of a few versatile options” the Sox are looking at to address the apparent hole at second base.
Gonzalez, who turns 32 in March, has spent the last two seasons with the Twins, most recently posting a slash line of .211/.286/.320 to go along with five home runs and 22 RBI across 53 games and 199 plate appearances for Minnesota in 2020.
If you’re not a fan of evaluating players based off a shortened season, then going back to 2019, Gonzalez was okay in his debut season in the Twin Cities.
Per FanGraphs, the Venezuelan put up an OPS of .736 as well as a 93 wRC+ while clubbing 15 homers and driving in 55 runs over 114 games played.
Prior to signing with the Twins in February 2019, Gonzalez had established himself as a legitimate utility player as a member of the Astros from 2012 until 2018, even finishing 19th in American League MVP voting the same year Houston won the World Series (2017).
Given his past with the Astros, Gonzalez obviously established a relationship with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the ‘Stros’ bench coach under A.J. Hinch in 2017.
That being said, it’s extremely likely that the switch-hitting veteran used the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing system to his full advantage when he was with the club.
In the two seasons leading up to his free agency during the winter of 2018/2019, Gonzalez collected 39 home runs and 59 doubles over 279 total games and 1,067 plate appearances with Houston.
Since that time, all of which was spent with the Twins, Gonzalez has hit just 20 home runs and 23 doubles over 167 games and 662 plate appearances dating back to the start of the 2019 campaign.
Even with that disparity in mind, it’s unlikely that the Sox would shy away from signing a former Astro — like Gonzalez — if they believe he provides what they are in search for. That being, someone who can play second base on an everyday basis while also being more than capable of playing all around the infield and even both corner outfield spots if necessary.
If chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. were to lock down Gonzalez to what would likely be a short-term deal, it would be somewhat of a homecoming for the former international free agent.
That being the case because going back to 2011, Boston selected Gonzalez from the Cubs in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, though they dealt him to Houston in exchange for minor-league right-hander Marco Duarte that same day.
With Gonzalez now added to the mix, here is a full list of free-agent second base options the Red Sox “have been in touch with,” according to Cotillo.
As Cotillo notes in the above tweet, D.J LeMahieu signing with the Yankees on Friday could get this particular market moving relatively soon. We will have to wait and see on that.
(Photo of Marwin Gonzalez: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)