Some big names were tossed around as potential World Baseball Classic replacements for the injured Mark Teixeira, but the fill-in will be Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
It’s hard to imagine that Hosmer was their first choice, especially following a disappointing season in which he hit just .232 with 14 homers and a .663 OPS in 152 games, but in 2011 he was very impressive as a 21-year-old rookie and before that he was an elite prospect.
Teixeira injured his forearm hitting off a tee before yesterday’s exhibition game and was immediately removed from the roster. In addition to Hosmer the other options at first base for Team USA include Joe Mauer and Ben Zobrist.
The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment. This comes after Gonzalez batted a mere .210/.282/.276 over 117 plate appearances in Cleveland. That came after he had to settle for a minor league contract with the Indians in mid-March.
A few years ago Gonzalez was a superstar, winning three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, making the All-Star team three times and coming in third in the MVP balloting once upon a time. That was then, however. His most recent good season came in 2016, when he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and drove in 100. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to hit .232/.269/.334. Between his falloff in production and the fact that his big numbers of the past were heavily supported by playing at Coors Field, it should not be shocking that he couldn’t make it work in Cleveland.
If he wants to continue his career, he’ll no doubt have to take a minor league gig someplace. Otherwise, this could be the end of the line.