Astros utilityman Marwin Gonzalez has switched representation and is now a client of Scott Boras, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports (on Twitter). Gonzalez’s hiring of Boras comes on the heels of teammate Dallas Keuchel’s decision to join up with baseball’s most famous agent. Both players are scheduled to hit free agency next offseason.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez, a standout with last season’s World Series winners, took an indirect route to prominence. The Venezuelan signed with the Cubs in 2005 and later had an extremely brief stint with the Red Sox, who selected him in the 2011 Rule 5 draft before trading him to the Astros that day. Gonzalez debuted in Houston in 2012 and struggled over his first two major league seasons, batting a miserable .227/.266/.323 in 441 plate appearances as part of a pair of 50-some-win teams.
The rebuilding Astros began making real progress in the win-loss column during a 70-victory 2013 season, when Gonzalez started showing he could be a legitimate contributor. Since then, the switch-hitter has slashed a solid .271/.321/.432 in 1,935 plate appearances, including an excellent .303/.377/.530 with 23 home runs in 515 PAs last season. Gonzalez has added to his value by logging between 78 and 252 appearances at second base, left field (his spot during the Astros’ title run), third base, first base and shortstop.
Both the Astros and Gonzalez and will try to replicate their 2017 success next season, though there’s some skepticism about the latter’s chances. Good fortune on batted balls was a key factor in Gonzalez’s impressive offensive outburst, as Statcast indicates his actual weighted on-base average (.387) far surpassed his expected wOBA (.320). Gonzalez’s lifetime wOBA happens to be .320, and returning to that level next season certainly wouldn’t be an ideal outcome in a contract year. The Astros could attempt to extend Gonzalez before then, but for now, he’s slated to make a reasonable $5.125MM in 2018.