Phillies interested in intriguing utility man, 2017 champion
By Matt Rappa
Despite recently adding shortstop Didi Gregorius to their infield, the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have interest in a utility player. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury Tuesday afternoon, the club is interested in veteran Marwin Gonzalez, who he describes as a “very solid utility man with some pop throughout his career.”
Gonzalez, who will turn 32 next month, has played nine seasons in the majors — seven with the Houston Astros from 2012 to 2018, and two with the Minnesota Twins between the 2019-20 seasons. Combined, the switch-hitter has slashed .261/.317/.413 with 799 hits — including 162 doubles, eight triples, and 96 home runs.
Marwin Gonzalez would provide needed postseason experience to the Phillies.
Also, the Venezuela native has logged 370 runs scored, 369 RBI, 227 walks and 680 strikeouts across 962 games and 3,368 plate appearances. His best season came in 2017, the year he helped the Houston Astros to a controversial World Series championship. Finishing 19th in the American League MVP Award, Gonzalez hit .303/.377/.530 with 34 doubles, 23 home runs, and 90 RBI. During that year’s World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he collected a pair of doubles and one home run through 28 plate appearances in the seven-game series.
This past season for the Twins, Gonzalez logged a career-low .211 batting average with four doubles, five home runs, 22 RBI, 17 walks, and 41 strikeouts. His .286 on-base percentage through 53 games and 199 plate appearances was its lowest since the 2013 season.
The 6-foot-1 Gonzalez’s claim to fame has mostly been his versatility. In the majors, he has played every fielding position except catcher and pitcher. This past season, Gonzalez fielded 60 perfect innings at first, 169 perfect innings at the hot corner, and committed an error each at second base and right field through 166 1/3 and 50 respective innings.
How would Marwin Gonzalez fit into the Phillies infield mix?
Gonzalez potentially joining the Phillies 40-man roster infield mix of Gregorius, Alec Bohm, C.J. Chatham, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Nick Maton, and Jean Segura would be interesting. You have to wonder if the previous Segura trade rumors resurface as spring training inches closer. Gonzalez could also fill in at the outfield and spare time off for Andrew McCutchen or whomever becomes the regular center fielder.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski hinted during Monday’s press conference that the bench could be the next area the team addresses in the coming weeks, after filling the starting catcher and shortstop openings.
“As we continue to eliminate and try to approach some of these holes, then you start talking about other things,” Dombrowski said. “How does your bench look, for example? Can we do something there? Every club can get better. I don’t care how good a club you are, you can always get better.”
Gonzalez just might be the signing the Phillies make to get better.