The Cleveland Indians have signed Carlos Gonzalez to a minor league contract.
If you had told me a few short years ago that CarGo would be signing a minor league deal in 2019 I’d have called you crazy, yet here we are. Two bad years and the perception — earned, I’ll add — that his numbers are primarily a function of Coors Field has a lot to do with that, of course.
While he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and 100 driven in in 2016, over the past two seasons he has hit a combined .232/.269/.334. For his career — all but 85 games of which have been with the Rockies — he’s a .323/.381/.592 hitter at home and a .251/.307/.420 hitter on the road. He has also hit 53 more homers at home than on the road in a close to equal number of games. His platoon splits are also sharp, with Gonzalez featuring a substantially higher batting line against righties than lefties, both at home and on the road.
All of which is to say: it’s possible he can hit well elsewhere, but there isn’t a ton of data to support the notion, and there is no reason to believe he can hit lefties. Oh, and his defensive reputation, burnished by three Gold Glove Awards, is overstated. Most metrics show him as a sub-par outfielder these days.
All of that being said, the Indians’ outfield is a thin gruel, consisting of Jordan Luplow in left and Tyler Naquin in right with Jake Bauers possibly featuring in the corner mix as well. Which means that Gonzalez stands a pretty good chance of making the team. If he does, he will get a $2 million deal with $1 million possible in incentives. If he does not, he can opt-out of this deal in April.