Now that Oswaldo Cabrera has established himself as a do-anything piece to the Yankees‘ puzzle and Giancarlo Stanton is on the verge of returning, it’s fair to ask current utility man Marwin Gonzalez what exactly … he does here.
Other than being Cabrera’s childhood idol (bizarre, yet somehow believable), Gonzalez hasn’t contributed much to the Bombers’ over the past several months; though he’s tossed in a few nifty plays in right recently, he’s also run into Cabrera and caused chaos. Gonzalez hasn’t picked up a hit since July 6 against Pittsburgh … which came off a position player. He hasn’t victimized an active MLB pitcher since July 2 in Cleveland.
There was a time when Gonzalez seemed like a worthwhile swing, and the veteran was actually hitting .264 in limited duty through June 28 (!), but as his playing time has decreased, his swing has vanished to an almost-comical degree.
Cabrera appears to be in the bigs to stay, passing the audition with exciting play at short, third, second and right field (Monday’s drop notwithstanding), as well as showing enough offensive potential to remain in the mix.
His roster spot won’t be in jeopardy when Giancarlo Stanton returns to the Yankees, which will reportedly come ahead of their upcoming road trip out west. The only question that remained as of Tuesday night was whether the Yankees would demote Estevan Florial once again when Stanton arrived (one of their three spark plugs from last week), or whether they’d finally cut bait with Gonzalez, who’s become so redundant with Cabrera that the two ironically tried to occupy the same space in the outfield Monday night.
After Tuesday’s victory, in which Florial appeared as a defensive replacement and caught the final out, the Yankees chose to demote the kid and keep the veteran. Anyone shocked?
Yankees Giancarlo Stanton roster move: Marwin Gonzalez? Estevan Florial?
(Extended sigh…) We knew all along it’d be Florial, who hasn’t hit at all during any of his big-league stretches, and has recorded just one hit in 20 at-bats through play on Monday, an RBI single in Saturday’s feckless loss to the Blue Jays. Florial has all the precious minor-league options in the world. Why try to fight it?
But as much as the Yankees hate losing players to the dreaded DFA, they have to admit that they signaled pretty convincingly with Cabrera’s promotion that they felt they could easily upgrade at the utility spot, both by bringing up their top prospect and by shifting Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s role.
Carrying three utility players through October is no way to go through life, and October is fast approaching. This could’ve been the time to cut the cord, especially if Harrison Bader isn’t ready to take on the responsibility of keeping Aaron Hicks on the bench.
Stanton, after two rehab games with Double-A Somerset where he combined to go 0-for-7, faced off (with Florial) against Luis Severino on Tuesday afternoon, rocketing a liner to left and just missing a homer to the short porch in the process.
Whether he comes back “ready” or not, he appears prepared to give it a go and rejoin the team. That’ll leave the Yankees either without a backup center fielder or without their second (or third) utility guy.
Gonzalez felt like the easy call. It didn’t happen.