What’s the logical next part of the journey for any Yankees role player who somehow survives roster cut after roster cut to end up playing meaningful innings during the postseason? Japanese baseball, of course!
This time around, it’s Marwin González, still just 33 years old and fresh off appearances in 85 regular season games and an additional playoff contest for the 2022 Yanks.
González, widely thought to be the single biggest recipient of the Houston Astros’ 2017 cheating scandal (and one of very few participants to publicly apologize, after he signed with the Twins), lost his fastball and then some in ’22, but filled in ably at multiple positions, and played a clear and obvious role in patching things up during times of great strife.
Once things were more settled, though, no one could figure out exactly what was gained by carrying González on the active roster while demoting Ron Marinaccio and keeping the team’s top shortstops below the surface.
Apparently, his “essential” contributions weren’t enough to keep him in MLB for 2023; less than two months after the end of the season, González is headed to Japan’s Orix Buffaloes to replace Masataka Yoshida on the roster, after the Boston Red Sox scooped him up.
Sure, the Sox overpaid for Yoshida, but … it’s fitting that Orix ends up with our discarded backup, Boston has a promising OBP-loving outfielder, and the Yankees have a genuine hole in left. Not the best spot on the carousel.
Former Yankees, Astros utility man Marwin González signs in Japan
Ichiro. Yoshida. Marwin. Orix Buffaloes baseball. Feel the magic. Live the legacy.
Pretty awesome the Yanks were giving stretch-run reps to this guy as recently as 2022 instead of developing Oswald Peraza — who, logic dictates, will be making the leap to Japan in 2024.
Though González hit just .185 with 6 blasts in 184 at-bats least season, there was a time when he was a feared hitter and a DJ LeMahieu-esque free agent signing for the Twins. His 2017 season was famously fraudulent (and, again, he owned up to it), featuring a .907 OPS, .303 average and 23 bombs, but when 2018 arrived, he was still exhibiting feats of strength from time to time, treating the Green Monster like a plaything during the ALCS.
The Yankees didn’t get that version of González, though. Why would they?
Instead, they selected the late-career (read: “33-year-old”) González who was more than ready to leap overseas once the Red Sox swiped the Japanese All-Star who used to hold his position.
The Yanks? They’ll now be looking to remodel left field from top to the very bottom. Maybe they can find some more 2017 Astros or hated 2013 Red Sox to try out.