Yankees News: Former Astros utility man selected to MLB roster, newly acquired catcher placed on injured list

marwin gonzalez, yankees

New York Yankees’ recent signee Marwin Gonzalez, who inked a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, made the major league Opening Day roster and will open the season with the big league club.

The team announced the respective roster moves: they selected Gonzalez to the 40-man roster and signed him to a major league contract, they designated outfielder Jeisson Rosario for assignment, and they placed catcher Ben Rortvedt on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain.

Rortvedt, who came over from the Minnesota Twins in the deal that netted the Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, was already injured with the Bombers acquired, but they decided to wait for him, as they see him as an important piece in the catching puzzle, together with projected starter Kyle Higashioka.

To cover for Rortvedt’s absence, the Yankees traded for Jose Trevino, a defensive-minded backup catcher.

Gonzalez earned a spot with the Yankees

As for Gonzalez, he earned his spot on the roster with his excellent play during spring training. The former Houston Astros’ utilityman slashed .375/.400/.792 with an impressive 1.192 OPS, and he was second in RBI with 10.

Marwin also hit four extrabase hits for the Yankees in Grapefruit League play: one double and three home runs, scoring five runs in the process. His nine-game cameo was enough to impress manager Aaron Boone and give him a spot, taking advantage of the expanded rosters for the first month of the season.

Gonzalez could be a valuable utility piece for the Yankees, as he is able to play all around the diamond and has plenty of experience in several positions. With the bat, he hasn’t been great in the last couple of seasons, but his best year, 2017, saw him produce a .303/.377/.530 line with a .907 OPS, although those numbers happened to come in the year of the sign-stealing scandal.

Nevertheless, Gonzalez showed he can still carry some offensive potential, and his versatility gave him the edge over other options.  

The Yankees may have stumbled upon a gem veteran infielder after strong start to spring

marwin gonzalez, yankees

The New York Yankees are working diligently to prepare for the 2022 regular season, which starts on April 7. While the starting pitching rotation has struggled, the Yankees’ offense has been dominant, displayed by a whopping of the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Thanks to dominant power-hitting, the Yankees outscored Philadelphia 14–2, including a grand slam from 25-year-old third baseman Max Burt.

However, Marwin Gonzalez has been the more underrated players this spring, who the Yankees signed to a minor-league contract and spring invitation. Gonzalez has made a legitimate case to be on the opening day roster as a utility man who can play multiple spots.

Gonzalez has experience at shortstop, third, first, second base, left field, and right field. The majority of his actions come in the infield, which provides extreme value for a team that is still trying to piece together the starting roster.

At 33 years old, Gonzalez is coming off a 2021 season where he split time with the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. He hit a collective .199 after posting a .211 average in 2020. By most accounts, Gonzalez has fallen off significantly from his best year in 2017 with Houston, where he hit .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs.

Nobody expected Gonzalez to be such a dominant threat at the plate this spring, but he’s been tremendous, posting a .545 average width six hits, three homers, and nine RBIs over 11 at-bats. While the sample size is extremely small, new hitting coach Dillon Lawson has done a great job getting the most out of the Yankees batters recently.

Given general manager Brian Cashman DFA’d Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade, they need a bit more infield depth that can fill multiple positions to supplement injury. Gonzalez fits the bill perfectly, hosting a .969 fielding percentage at shortstop, .968 percentage at third base, and .980 percentage at second base. Most of the Yankees’ current starters hover around those numbers at every position, showcasing Marwin’s value.

With just a week left until opening day, Gonzalez has a few more opportunities to show why he’s deserving of a major league contract, but at this rate, I would be surprised if he wasn’t included.

Gonzalez says Astros’ sign-stealing scandal won’t be an issue in the Yankees’ clubhouse: ‘It’s in the past’

Marwin Gonzalez, yankees, houston astros

The New York Yankees signed utilityman Marwin Gonzalez to a minor league deal this week. The pact also included an invitation to spring training, and the former member of the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox is already in camp.}

“You want to be on a winning team,” Gonzalez said in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday morning, per SI.com. “That made it easy for me.”

Gonzalez is 33 and can play a myriad of positions for the Yankees if he makes the roster: he has experience in every position of the field except for catcher, but is most suited to play the infield corners, second base, and the outfield corners.

“I’m always open to play any position,” he added. “I’ll be ready for whatever they need from me.”

He hasn’t talked about 2017 with any of his new Yankees teammates

Gonzalez was in the middle of the sign-stealing scandal with the Astros back in 2017. In fact, he is a career .256/.313/.404 hitter with a 96 wRC+, but that year, he slashed .303/.377/.530 with a 144 wRC+.

But the newest Yankees player will not let that affect his future with the team, and he is solely focused on making the club out of camp.

“That’s been in the past,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve played four seasons after that. We’ve been facing each other and playing around so I think that that’s really in the past and I’ve talked to a lot of the guys during the games and it’s been four years.”

Gonzalez added that he hasn’t talked about the 2017 season with any of his new Yankees’ teammates, so it seems all parties are trying to leave it behind.

In the meantime, Marwin will play his first spring training game with the Yankees on Thursday, and his focus is in getting in the best possible shape with the start of the season around the corner.

“Spring training is super short, so I gotta hurry up,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the best I can do.”

Yankees sign veteran shortstop, but miss out on Trevor Story as Red Sox swoop in

Marwin Gonzalez, yankees, houston astros

The New York Yankees missed out on every big-name shortstop free agent this off-season after indicating they needed to upgrade the position significantly. While they did trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Minnesota Twins, who acquired him from the Texas Rangers, the Yanks are taking a chance on his offensive qualities.

Kiner-Falefa doesn’t exactly fit the power-hitting mold the Yankees prefer, smashing just eight homers last season with Texas. General manager Brian Cashman had an opportunity to snag Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and a bevy of other options but elected to keep his money and look to the near future with Anthony Volpe climbing the system.

However, Cashman did make a signing on Sunday just to rub it in the face of Yankee fans. He inked utilityman Marwin Gonzalez to a minor league contract, projecting to earn $1.15 million if he reaches the Major League roster. At 33 years old, Gonzalez is coming off a poor season with Houston and Boston.

He hit a collective .199 with five homers and 28 RBIs last season, featuring the highest strikeout percentage of his career at 25.4%. His offensive qualities have decreased significantly with age, but he is still a solid defensive player who can fill a reserve role if need be.

Gonzalez’s best season came back in 2017 when he hit .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs.

Gonzalez has experience at multiple positions, including first base, second base, shortstop, and third base. He’s also spent some time in every outfield spot, which is extremely valuable. Gonzalez can replace Tyler Wade on the roster minus his speed on the bases, but his defensive acumen is worth a minor league contract at the very least.

While this isn’t exactly the high-profile move we hoped the Yankees would make this off-season, it is clear they are investing heavily in the potential of their prospects, which could end up biting them in the butt down the road. Just take a look at Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, and Gleyber Torres as prime examples of sticking with players for too long and suffering through continuous growing pains.

New York Mets Best Infield Options on the Free Agent Market

The New York Mets have plenty of offense throughout the infield,, but they lack any good defenders. Their infield defense was a big part of their disappointing 2020 season. Even with Robinson Cano‘s season-long suspension, it will take a trade to make room for a couple of the guys on this list.

1. D.J. LeMahieu

D.J. LeMahieu was always a good contact hitter during his Colorado Rockies days and found his power stroke with the New York Yankees. His .336 average and .536 slugging percentage combined with versatility at three different infield positions earned two consecutive top-five MVP finishes. If the Mets sign LeMahieu, it severely limits the playing time for J.D. Davis. As much as fans love Davis, LeMahieu is a much better player on both sides of the ball.

2. Tommy La Stella

Tommy La Stella is a good utility infieder for their bench that lacks power. He is good defender at second base and corner infield positions. LaStella is the type of player the Mets can play for 100+ games without worry of a dramatic production drop off. Current roster option, Luis Guillorme proved himself as a capable hitter for average but La Stella provides the power Guillorme lacks.

3. Kike Hernandez

Every winning team has someone like Kike Hernandez on their roster. Hernandez may never get 500 at-bats in a season but will find his way into 130+ games due to his ability to play every position except pitcher and catcher. He has good power for and is a super utitility player who fills the role of multiple players. The Mets have a roster with plenty of defensive fluidity and Hernandez would fit well for all of the possible combinations manager Luis Rojas rolls out.

4. Marwin Gonzalez

Marwin Gonzalez is a lower tier, less athletic version of Hernandez. He still plays the same amount of positions as Kike but is better suited for the corners of the infield and outfield at this point of his career. Gonzalez never replicated his 2017 season where he hit .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBIs and disappointed with the Minnesota Twins. Should Rojas aim to keep a consistent lineup, Gonzalez provides a better option than Hernandez. He is slightly older, cheaper and is coming off a poor 2020 season.

5. Jonathan Villar

Jonathan Villar is not this low because he is worse than all of the players in front of him. It is due to the likelihood that Villar is surely looking for a starting opportunity. Villar has shown flashes of power but does not carry the patience of prototypical lead off hitter.

His best comparison is a switch hitting version of Amed Rosario but the difference is their versatility. He plays up the middle and center field, allowing the Mets have options if Villar has a good season. Villar inconsistency as a everyday play limits to him as a backup role for good teams.