Remember, Yankees fans, signing Carlos Correa would’ve been the worst thing possible for the Bombers’ chemistry. But signing Marwin Gonzalez, a fellow member of the 2017 Astros who statistically benefitted plenty from the trash can bangs and split 2021 between the Red Sox and the damn Astros again? Fair game, let’s help get the man back on his feet.
Coming off a season where he posted a sad-but-true 55 OPS+ and was worth -0.8 WAR in just 276 at-bats, Gonzalez still managed to play for not one, but both ALCS participants, as well as smoke a clutch home run to help send the Yankees to defeat at the Stadium in early June.
While his arrival might’ve been buried by Boston signing Trevor Story at the exact same time on Sunday morning, Gonzalez reported to camp on Monday ready to compete for playing time at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, taking reps on a side field while most of the starting lineup took down the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nothing is guaranteed to Gonzalez coming off a down year — and no one’s saying otherwise — but still … you could’ve fooled us based on how enthusiastically he shaved his trademark beard for the occasion.
Some guys look standard without facial hair. Some look jarring, but ultimately, you get it.
Gonzalez looks — no exaggeration — like we all just invented a New Guy.
Former New York Yankees tormentor Marwin Gonzalez looks completely different clean-shaven.
How is this the same bushy-bearded man who’s tormented the Bombers since 2017?
This is the kind of shave that makes you wonder how differently we’d view other players if they’d come up as Yankees. What would Tim Lincecum have been with a buzzcut? If you take away Robbie Ray’s beard, does his slider lose that extra bite? What about Big Papi without the chinstrap?
Gonzalez likely won’t have to apologize much for his role in the cheating scandal that rocked baseball in 2020, especially since he was one of very few Astros who’s already been quite remorseful. Add in the team embracing 2017 Houstonians Cameron Maybin and Carlos Beltran, as well as, uh, the unsealed letter, and you’ve got plenty of reasons for everybody involved to move on.
The only problem here? Beards don’t grow back so easily.
If Gonzalez doesn’t hook on with the Triple-A club and get some reps in, he’s going to show up at someone else’s doorstep clean shaven. Sometimes, it just doesn’t grow back — remember Andrew McCutchen’s dreadlocks?
Every time this gets brought up, we remember the facial hair policy is an actual policy, and not just a suggestion that usually gets followed. Hopefully, for the sake of all involved, Gonzalez hits and hits well in pinstripes.
Then, next year he can bolt elsewhere for a bigger payday and go all Orioles Rougie Odor on us.