Jon Heyman reports that the Minnesota Twins are in agreement with free agent Marwin Gonzalez. The details of the contract are not yet known, but a three-year deal was rumored recently. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that it is a two-year, $21 million deal.
Gonzalez batted .247/.324/.409 with 16 home runs for the Astros last season while starting games at five different positions. That’s his thing: he can play anywhere: first, second, third, short or the outfield corners. He’s even played three games in center in his career. He’s one blowout away from pitching, I suppose.
Gonzalez’ offense took a pretty big step back from his 2017 high water mark, in which he posted a .907 OPS, but for his career he’s still a respectable .264/.318/.419 hitter in seven big league seasons. And again, his versatility is super valuable, especially in this age of big bullpens and short benches.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.