The Red Sox added more versatility to their roster Thursday night, signing super utility player Marwin González to a reported one-year, $3 million deal with incentives that could reach up to $1 million.
Here’s a closer look at the 31-year old switch-hitter:
Gonzalez signed his first contract at 16.
From Venezuela, González signed an international free-agent deal with the Cubs in November of 2005 as a 16-year old. He played in Chicago’s farm system from 2006 to 2011, reaching Triple-A before the Red Sox selected him in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft and immediately traded him to the Astros for pitcher Marco Duarte.
González made Houston’s Opening Day roster in 2012, but spent his first two seasons splitting time between Triple-A and the big league club. He became a mainstay in the Astros’ lineup from 2014-2018, and the following offseason signed a 2-year, $21 million contract with the Twins.
Gonzalez was a key contributor to the Astros’ 2017 World Series team.
The switch-hitter has a career .261/.317/.413 slash line with 96 home runs and 369 RBIs in 962 games. His best season was in 2017, when he hit a career-best .303 with 23 homers, 90 RBIs, and had a .907 OPS.
González received six votes on the AL MVP ballot that season, finishing 19th as teammate Jose Altuve won the award. He also played a pivotal part in helping the Astros win the 2017 World Series, hitting a game-tying home run off Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning of Game 2 in a 7-6 win.
In his first season with the Twins in 2019, González had 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 114 games, but struggled in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, hitting a career-worst .211 with five home runs in 53 games.
Gonzalez can play many positions.
Similar to recently acquired Kiké Hernández, González offers defensive versatility for Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound González has played every position except pitcher and catcher during his nine-year MLB career.
He’s started 250 games at shortstop, 159 at first base, and 143 in left field, and is one of two players in MLB history to appear in at least 130 games at first, second, third, short, and the outfield.
Last season with the Twins, González saw time primarily in the infield (first, second, third), but also played some right field.
Gonzalez hits fastballs well.
González is known as a potent fastball hitter, and as a result sees a heavy dose of off-speed pitches. In his breakout 2017 season, he saw the lowest percentage of fastballs (45.7 percent) among all MLB hitters. The next season he faced the highest percentage of curveballs (14.9 percent) of all hitters.
González also produces similar statistics from both sides of the plate. For his career, González has a .261/.321/.411 line against righties and a .261/.307/.416 line against lefties. He and infielder Jonathan Arauz are the only two switch-hitters currently on the Red Sox roster for the 2021 season.
Gonzalez was a part of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
Cora was González’s bench coach with the Astros during the sign-stealing plagued 2017 season. Last February, González acknowledged his role in the scandal and apologized for his actions.
“I wish I could take it back and do it a different way,” González told the Minnesota Star Tribune. “But there’s nothing we can do. I’m remorseful for everything that happened in 2017, for everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us doing this.”
Data compiled by the site signstealingscandal.com, shows González benefitted the most from the trash-banging with a team-leading 136 “correct bangs”.
Although he hit 15 of his 23 homers at Minute Maid Park, González had a higher batting average on the road (.326) than home (.282).
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