Alberto Gonzalez started 71 games for the Nationals last season and hit just .265/.299/.351 in 316 total plate appearances, so this year they moved him into more of a bench role and he hit even worse, batting .247/.277/.301 in 198 plate appearances.
Normally a 27-year-old with a career OPS of .623 and back-to-back terrible seasons would be happy with whatever role he can get in the big leagues, but Gonzalez made it very clear during a recent interview in Venezuela that he’s unhappy being a utility man for the Nationals.
Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com did some translating and came up with this excerpt from the interview:
Utility is not going to be me. I want to be is entitled to second base or shortstop, but they are things that one should take it easy. I am young, yet I have time, I have a career ahead and I should not despair. Simply, if they do not give me these positions, you have to accept and expect what they will do me for next year. I come to think of moving to another team, but the Nationals do not want change because for them I’m a good player because I can take any position for my defense. I hope it’s what God wants, whether in Washington or any other.
I don’t want to be too critical of Gonzalez here, in part because I’m sure what he said loses plenty in translation, but Goessling also writes that he “heard a few rumblings earlier this season about Gonzalez chafing at a lack of playing time.” When you can’t crack the starting lineup on a last-place team and have one of the worst career OPS totals among all active players … well, the last thing you ought to be doing is complaining about your role.
Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.
Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.