The Marlins announced a series of roster moves Friday, selecting the contract of veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton from Triple-A Jacksonville and designating infielder Erik Gonzalez for assignment to clear roster space. Miami also reinstated Joey Wendle from the 10-day injured list and placed slugger Jorge Soler on the 10-day IL with what they’re terming “bilateral pelvis inflammation.”
Miami just signed Hamilton to a minor league contract a couple weeks ago. He made just one appearance with Jacksonville before being called up, and he’s now in position to log his first MLB action of the year. Hamilton adds a speed and defense element to an outfield that has otherwise been lacking a prototypical center fielder. Miami has relied on Jesus Sanchez, who’s probably better suited for a corner outfield role, in center field of late.
Sanchez, of course, will remain the primary center fielder even with Hamilton’s arrival. The fleet-footed veteran hasn’t hit well, putting up only a .213/.269/.299 line since the start of the 2019 campaign. Even with excellent defense and baserunning, that offensive output has been too light to merit regular playing time at the big league level. He’ll add an interesting complementary skill set to the bench for skipper Don Mattingly.
Gonzalez has had a pair of separate stints in the majors this season, the first coming as a COVID replacement. The former Pirate has suited up in 16 MLB games with Miami, playing all four infield spots but not offering much at the plate. Signed to a minor league deal over the winter, Gonzalez has had a nice season in Jacksonville. Through 186 plate appearances with the Jumbo Shrimp, he’s hit .339/.376/.431 and swiped seven bases.
With Wendle back and Soler landing on the IL, Miami will turn the final bench spot over to an outfielder at the expense of some infield depth. Gonzalez, who is out of minor league option years, had to be designated for assignment to be taken off the active roster. Miami will have a week to trade him or, more likely, run him through waivers. If he passes through the wire unclaimed, he’d have the right to elect free agency as a player with over three years of big league service time.