In a move that flew under MLBTR’s radar during the pre-lockout transactions frenzy, the Marlins signed utilityman Erik Gonzalez to a minor league deal in late November. Because the Pirates outrighted him off their 40-man roster during the season, Gonzalez (with over three years of MLB service time) had the option of electing free agency this winter, and will now look for a new opportunity in South Beach.
Incumbent utilityman Jon Berti and newcomer Joey Wendle each already provide Miami with a lot of versatility, though positional flexibility is also Gonzalez’s calling card, as he has made at least one big league start at every position on the diamond except catcher and pitcher. Much of Gonzalez’s experience has come as an infielder, as he has played mostly shortstop and third base over his six seasons with Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Between his versatility and his particularly solid glovework at the hot corner, Gonzalez has struck around big league rosters despite a lack of offensive production. Gonzalez has only a .245/.276/.345 slash line to show for 853 plate appearances in the majors, and he also hit a modest .269/.311/.392 over his minor league career (3287 PA). Injury problems haven’t helped, as Gonzalez was sidelined for much of the 2019 campaign due to a fractured clavicle, and he also missed a big chunk of time this past season with an oblique strain.