On the day before pitchers and catchers are officially due to report for Seattle Mariners Spring Training, the team appears to be bringing in a former All-Star to try and make the team.
Carlos Gonzalez, whose resume includes being a 3-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove Winner, 2-time silver slugger, and 3rd place finisher in the 2010 NL MVP voting, will be in spring camp with your Seattle Mariners.
The two sides came to an agreement on a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. The 34-year-old outfielder spent 10-years with the Colorado Rockies before he signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians during the 2018-2019 off-season.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go well in Cleveland and after 30 games, he was DFA’d. He appeared in 15 additional games for the Chicago Cubs but managed to hit just .200/.289/.283 with 3 home runs in those 45 games.
Gonzalez, who battled the injury bug in the midst of his prime years, is looking for a final shot to stick on a big-league roster. But the odds are stacked against the former All-Star. The team seems committed to giving Mallex Smith and Kyle Lewis Opening Day outfield jobs, and Daniel Vogelbach is set to be the full-time DH.
Gonzalez will have to show he can still play at this level and even if he does, he faces stiff competition in Braden Bishop and Jake Fraley. More than likely, Gonzalez’s value to the Mariners this spring will be in a “veteran leadership” role.
Gonzalez will need several injuries to see his odds to break camp jump over 10%, but if he can show he can still be productive this spring, it may launch him into other opportunities around baseball.
Gonzalez was decent in 2018, slashing .276/.329/.467 with 16 home runs, but his legs are gone and he is a liability in the outfield. Gonzalez is nothing but depth at this point but could prove to be valuable as a mentor to younger players.
While it is unlikely Gonzalez ever wears a Mariners’ uniform in regular-season action, his cache and resume make him a fascinating player to watch this spring. That, in and off itself, makes this somewhat newsworthy.