The Red Sox are reinstating trade deadline acquisition Kyle Schwarber from the injured list, manager Alex Cora announced to reporters Friday (Twitter link via MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). In order to clear roster space for Schwarber, who’s making his team debut tonight, Boston has designated infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez for assignment.
Gonzalez, 32, found a rather frigid market for his services in free agency this past offseason, lingering on the market until inking a one-year, $3MM deal in Boston on the heels of a poor 2020 showing in Minnesota. The versatile switch-hitter posted just a .211/.286/.320 slash in 199 plate appearances with the Twins last year and hasn’t been able to improve upon that in 2021, batting just .201/.282/.285 in a larger sample of 271 trips to the plate.
Gonzalez has, at times, been an average or better offensive contributor, but his lone standout season at the plate came during the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in 2017. Gonzalez posted a massive .303/.377/.530 batting line with a career-high 23 home runs in 515 plate appearances. He’s hit just .240/.310/.376 in nearly 1500 plate appearances since that season.
Defensively, Gonzalez has played solidly around the diamond in Boston, where he’s logged time at all four infield positions and both corner outfield slots. Gonzalez has more than 1000 career innings played at all four infield positions and in left field (plus another 402 in right field).
Given that he’s still owed about $839K of this year’s $3MM base salary and has produced a lowly .206/.284/.300 batting line in his past 470 MLB plate appearances, Gonzalez is a lock to go unclaimed on waivers. He’ll become a free agent at that point and be able to sign with any team for the prorated league minimum. Any pay he receives from another club would be deducted from the remainder of the salary still owed to him by the Red Sox.
Schwarber is now in line to make his team debut. The slugger rode an absurd month of June to a .253/.340/.570 line over 303 plate appearances with the Nationals. He suffered a significant hamstring strain in early July and landed on the injured list. Washington fell out of contention not long thereafter and traded away a huge swath of players before the deadline — including Schwarber, who’s an impending free agent. Now that he has returned to health, Schwarber figures to get plenty of run at first base, a position he’s never played in the major leagues, with Boston.