The Red Sox are having themselves quite the busy lead up to camp. Just in the last week or so they have reportedly signed Hirokazu Sawamura and of course traded Andrew Benintendi, and they’ve made another addition on Thursday. This connection has been made for weeks now, but now it’s reportedly happening, with the Red Sox signing utility man Marwin González.
Marwin Gonzalez and the Red Sox have agreed to a deal, per source. Blue Jays were also in on him.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 12, 2021
González will get $3 million for one year.
Gonzalez gets a one-year deal worth $3 million, per source. Deal also contains a little more than $1 million in incentives. #RedSox https://t.co/kGPpYYnCSn— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 12, 2021
As the González rumors had been gaining speed, I hadn’t really been the biggest fan of the idea, though I had been under the impression he’d get a two-year deal. At this price, it’s very hard to argue with the move, as González can provide usable offense, albeit not great, with the versatility to play all over the diamond for both a short commitment and next to no money.
A switch-hitter, González will turn 32 next month and had spent most of his career with the Astros and the two most recent seasons in Minnesota. For the most part, he’s been a roughly average hitter in his career with the exception of 2017, in which he was part of the infamous championship Astros team. That season he posted a 144 wRC+. It also does have to be mentioned he was connected to the sign-stealing scandal and was actually the first player to publicly apologize.
But even if you consider that season an outlier, he put up a 104 wRC+ in 2018 and a mark of 93 in 2019, which is more than fair for a $3 million deal. Last season, though, was a struggle in the shortened summer schedule. González his just .211/.286/.320 for a 66 wRC+ in 199 plate appearances. For what it’s worth, the projections see him getting almost all the way back to his 2019 level, with ZiPS actually projecting the same 93 wRC+.
What’s really going to be interesting about González is how he fits in with the roster. He is another player who can play all over the diamond, having played everywhere besides catcher and pitcher in his career and everywhere besides those two spots and center field over the last two seasons. He’s also a switch hitter without too much of a discernible platoon split in his career.
I’d expect him to play a little bit of everywhere, but mostly on the right side of the infield to serve as insurance for Bobby Dalbec and allow Enrique Hernández to play center field. This move also gives them the flexibility to be able to add a center fielder like Jackie Bradley Jr. or perhaps Kevin Pillar or go for a left-handed first base type like Mitch Moreland.
With the addition of González, there are now three 40-man spots to be opened for him, Sawamura and Martín Pérez. It’s likely one will be filling the spot opened when Chris Sale is officially moved to the 60-day injured list, but that still means two more players could be placed on waivers to make room.