A majority of the free agent dust has settled by now, but as MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted, there’s a large handful of top-50-ranked free agents who are still searching for a contract. The best outfielder on that list is Carlos Gonzalez, who appears mired amidst some unfortunate circumstances.
As Adams noted, the left-handed-hitting Gonzalez put up the worst season of his career in 2017. Under any circumstances, it would pretty bad timing for a player to do this in his walk year. However, Gonzalez’ walk year just happened to coincide with an abnormal offseason that’s moved at a historically slow pace. Further worsening his situation is the fact that power has been abundant in MLB for the past couple of seasons, and therefore bat-first corner outfielders might not hold as much value in the eyes of front offices around the league.
Not only that, but front offices seem wary of promising long-term contracts to average players on the wrong side of 30. Although CarGo has put up some impressive offensive seasons, hehasn’t played at an especially above-average level since 2013, and he comes with an injury history as well.
At this stage in his career, Gonzalez should probably be shielded against left-handed pitchers. He managed just a 29 wRC+ against them across 137 plate appearances during the 2017 campaign. If front offices see him strictly as a platoon player, that could put an even lower cap on his price tag.
Now we’re into March, and Gonzalez seems to be in a bad spot. Logan Morrison, another bat-first left-handed hitter, received just a $6.5MM guarantee from the Twins. Although the two have very different MLB track records on the whole, the Morrison contract doesn’t exactly shine optimism on Gonzalez’ market.
The list of suitors for Gonzalez at this point is short. The Orioles, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, Astros and Blue Jays are among the teams who shown interest in the outfielder at some point during the offseason. While those teams are all reasonable fits in theory, the market for him seems tepid at this time. With opening day fast approaching, the one-year, $12MM contract we predicted at the beginning of the offseason is beginning to look out of reach, barring some sort of injury that creates a need for his services.
What do you think? Where will Gonzalez end up? (Poll link for app users)