The Red Sox continued their quest to add depth and versatility to their roster by agreeing to terms with veteran utility man
Over his nine-year career in the Majors, the 31-year-old Gonzalez has played every position but pitcher and catcher. The switch-hitter figures to see plenty of time in the outfield and at first base for Boston.
On the heels of outfielder Andrew Benintendi being traded to the Royals on Wednesday, Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe are the only projected starters in the Red Sox’s outfield based on their current roster.
Franchy Cordero, one of the players acquired from Kansas City in the Benintendi deal, will compete for time in the outfield. Gonzalez and Enrique Hernández — the other super-utility player signed by Boston this offseason — can help round out that position.
The right-handed-hitting Bobby Dalbec, who smashed eight homers over his first 80 career big league at-bats last season, figures to be the primary starter at first base.
Manager Alex Cora will now have the flexibility of playing Gonzalez at first against tough righties, or during times when Dalbec is either slumping or needs a rest. Cora is fond of Gonzalez from the one season they spent together with the Astros in 2017.
Though third baseman Rafael Devers doesn’t figure to get much time off, Gonzalez can spot him at times against lefties.
Gonzalez is the rare switch-hitter who doesn’t seem to have a more comfortable side. He is a .261 hitter against both lefties and righties. His OPS is only slightly better against righties (.732) than lefties (.724).
Gonzalez spent the first seven years of his career with the Astros, before spending the past two seasons with the Twins. Like many players around the game, Gonzalez struggled in the shortened 2020 season, slashing .211/.286/.320 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 175 at-bats.
From 2016-19, Gonzalez had at least 425 at-bats each season while moving all over the field. He hit double-digit homers in every year from 2015-19.
In 962 games in the Majors, Gonzalez is a career .261/.317/.413 hitter with 96 homers and 369 RBIs.