The Mariners have agreed to a minor league contract with three-time All-Star Carlos Gonzalez, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). The 34-year-old Boras Corporation client has been invited to Major League Spring Training and would earn $750K if he cracks the big league roster.
A star-caliber player with the Rockies from 2010-16, Gonzalez is now three full seasons removed from his last above-average year at the plate by measure of park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ and wRC+. Dating back to Opening Day 2017, he’s slashed .260/.328/.423 in 1204 plate appearances with the Rockies, Indians and Cubs — including a .200/.289/.283 output in 166 plate appearances in 2019. Both Cleveland and Chicago released Gonzalez during the 2019 season.
That said, Gonzalez is a perfectly sensible roll of the dice for the Mariners, who’ll be without right fielder Mitch Haniger early in the season due to his recent core surgery. The Mariners figure to have Mallex Smith in center field in 2020, with rising prospect Kyle Lewis likely tabbed for left field duties. In right, they’ll take a look at Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, recent waiver claim Jose Siri and now CarGo as they look to bridge the gap to Haniger’s return to the roster.
From 2010-16, Gonzalez posted a very strong .296/.353/.535 slash with 184 home runs, 197 doubles and 28 triples in 3714 plate appearances. Along the way, he racked up an even 1000 hits in total and captured three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Sluggers and a National League batting title (.336 in 2010). It’s obviously doubtful that he’s capable of anything approaching that peak form, but the Mariners will take a free look at what Gonzalez has left in the tank this spring.