When last we gazed on the 2018 Red Sox, the view was majestic. But the 2018 season is over, and second base is a need. Could Marwin Gonzalez meet that need?
On The Roster Now
For over 10 years, Dustin Pedroia was the guardian of second base and the second spot in the batting order for the Red Sox. Before the dark times, before Manny Machado.
But let’s not be too harsh. Machado’s spike and the aftermath, it could be argued, ended with the Sox getting Alex Cora. That’s a great thing!
Pedroia is making a lot of money. He’s on the books for an average of $13.75 million until 2021. And that would be fine if he could play. But the outlook is extremely iffy. He had knee cartilage restoration surgery in late 2017, followed by arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue in late July of this year.
I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on the Boston Sports Extra website, but because of those knee surgeries, I’m not hopeful for a full recovery.
Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt are the remaining possibilities at second base. But Nunez is a DL stint waiting to happen, while Brock Holt provides limited returns the more he plays.
Look, I love me some Brock Holt, but he’s averaged 89 games a year for the past 3 years. He’s not reliable for a full season.
Can Marwin Gonzalez play 2B?
Gonzalez is what’s known as a super utility player. Think Ben Zobrist. He has played 1B, 2B, SS, and OF for the Astros over the past few years, and done well. His 3-year averages are 140 Games, 28 Doubles, 17 Home Runs, and a .778 OPS.
He has been held back from a set position because of the team he’s been on. The Houston Astros have MVP candidates at Second Base in Jose Altuve, and at Short Stop in Carlos Correa. In his career, Marwin Gonzalez has spent 54% of his time at either Short Stop or Second.
I think Gonzalez can definitely play Second Base, but why would he come to the Sox?
The Alex Cora Connection
Because of Alex Cora. Even the most casual observer could see the difference over a full season and in the playoffs that Alex Cora makes. It’s no mistake his teams have won the World Series two years in a row. And Marwin Gonzalez knows Cora from their time together last year with the Astros.
Even if Pedroia comes back, Holt gets playing time, and somehow Nunez stays healthy, Alex Cora knows how they communicate with the team effectively. Gonzalez’s versatility would be put to cooly efficient use by Cora in those circumstances.
MLB Trade Rumors pegs Marwin Gonzalez as the 16th best free agent and estimates he will garner a 4 year, $36 million dollar deal.
These are the types of players I believe the Red Sox will go after because of their substantial payroll. The Luxury Payroll Tax is a complicated matter that will be addressed at a later time. But after all the arbitration numbers for the entire All-Star Outfield, as well as Xander Bogaerts, the Sox will be well into Luxury Tax territory.
Less expensive players like Marwin Gonzalez would go a long way towards solidifying the roster and getting the Red Sox back to the playoffs in 2019.