The New York Yankees didn’t sign Marwin Gonzalez to a minor-league deal this past weekend, make him shave his trademark facial hair, and force him to travel to Lakeland to not give him a legitimate shot to make the Opening Day roster.
We just had no idea until Thursday that they’d make it this obvious.
Gonzalez, a star utility player with the 2017 Astros who cashed in on his best pro season in Minnesota (hmm, sounds Correa-esque), bounced between the Red Sox and ‘Stros again in 2021, participating in the World Series despite accruing -0.8 WAR on the season.
Considering Boston made the playoffs by exactly one game, they’re probably lucky they exiled him when they did, before he took another victory off the board all by himself.
Now a Yankee, Gonzalez popped up in Thursday’s lineup in a manner that proved he’s more than just a flyer.
Without a viable backup shortstop on the big-league roster, Gonzalez has stepped into that role for Thursday’s tilt.
Yankees minor-league pickup Marwin Gonzalez is a shortstop again?
Of course, it’s not that simple. Never is, never will be.
Gonzalez played 35 games and took 130 plate appearances at shortstop back in 2017, but hit markedly worse while doing so, something Yankee fans call “The Gleyber Torres Effect.” He triple-slashed .248/.339/.363, as opposed to hitting .321 as a third baseman, .309 at first and .393 at second. He hit legitimately everywhere else!
Since then, Gonzalez’s shortstop days have been numbered, and in recent years, he hasn’t exactly carried himself well at the position.
Oh, and he posted a 55 OPS+ last year. 55! 55.
Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera seems like a much better choice as a roving backup infielder/shortstop for the big-league roster, but the fact that Marwin’s getting a tryout indicates this is part of the vision the team has for him as a project.
With a 28-man roster to work with now, the Yankees have a few extra spots to flesh out on Opening Day. Let’s just give Cabrera the final bench spot, add two bullpen arms and stop worrying about it, though, alright?