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.
Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that a trade that would send Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs involves prospect Gleyber Torres and more going to the Yankees. He adds that the holdup in the trade talks is centered around a contract extension for Chapman, believed to be around four years in length and $60 million total. The deal may not be finalized if the Cubs don’t get him signed to an extension they like. In Watt’s words, “Package is set. Extension is not.”
We learned earlier on Sunday that the Yankees were working hard to trade Chapman, reportedly in contact with at least four teams. The Cubs were not believed to be the front runners but certainly upped the ante by offering Torres.
Torres, 19, is rated the Cubs’ #1 prospect and #24 overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline. The shortstop has spent the season with Single-A Myrtle Beach, batting .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, 62 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances.
Torres is currently roadblocked at shortstop by Addison Russell, and 21-year-old Ian Happ is rated #3 in the Cubs’ system, so the club would be dealing from surplus.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mariners, the Blue Jays designated reliever Drew Storen for assignment and recalled reliever Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.
Storen, 28, had a nightmare of a time with the Jays, leaving with a 6.21 ERA and a 32/10 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him in January from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Storen is owed the remainder of his $8.375 million salary, which makes it likelier that the right-hander will pass through waivers unclaimed. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.