The 28-year-old Gonzalez has played in parts of three big league seasons between the White Sox and Giants, compiling a .253/.328/.368 batting line in 363 plate appearances. The 2017 third-round pick once rated as one of the better prospects in the ChiSox’ system, but he hasn’t yet found sustained success in the big leagues.
Gonzalez got out to a hot start in 2022, his first season with the Giants, after coming over from the Sox via waivers late in the 2021 season. Through June 21 of the 2022 season, Gonzalez was hitting .302/.361/.447 in 180 plate appearances, but a lower back strain shelved him for the next two and a half weeks. He was activated on July 9 but returned to the injured list with another back strain about six weeks later — this time missing the remainder of the season. Gonzalez may never have been fully healthy upon returning, as he batted only .204/.282/.270 in 170 trips to the plate between those two IL stints.
The back troubles persisted into the 2023 season, and Gonzalez eventually underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc. That procedure kept him out from mid-March through early July. He didn’t make it back to San Francisco’s big league roster but did suit up for 31 minor league games following the operation, during which he posted a .248/.350/.352 batting line in 123 trips to the plate.
The Yankees obviously have no room in the big league outfield after acquiring Juan Soto, Trent Grisham and Alex Verdugo in trades this offseason. Soto and Verdugo will flank Aaron Judge, who’ll be the team’s primary center fielder, while Grisham will give them a lefty-swinging fourth outfielder with a plus glove to come off the bench late in games. Like Grisham, Gonzalez is a lefty bat with experience at all three outfield slots. The Yankees have a trio of depth outfielders — Everson Pereira, Estevan Florial and recent waiver claim Oscar Gonzalez — all on the 40-man roster ahead of their new signing. Gonzalez seems likely to open the year in Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.