The New York Mets continue to add to their 2018 roster, coming to an agreement with free-agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
The #Mets now have decided to sign 1B Adrian Gonzalez pending a physical.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 14, 2018
Don’t gloss over that “pending a physical” part. A bad back limited Gonzalez, 35, to just 71 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, and he was unsurprisingly left off the team’s postseason roster.
With Atlanta on the hook for his guaranteed $22 million salary in 2018, the Mets won’t have to pay Gonzalez much of anything, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 14, 2018
Gonzalez hit just .242 with three home runs, 30 RBI, and a career-low .642 OPS. A four-time Gold Glove Award-winner, his defense also suffered, as he posted a minus-5.6 UZR/150 and minus-two DRS.
Some of that can be attributed to the former perennial MVP candidate being on the downside of his career, while his balky back certainly did nothing to help his production.
While it’s unrealistic to expect A-Gon to return to the numbers he was putting up in his prime, if he’s healthy—and that’s a big if—he’s certainly capable of putting together a nice bounce-back season, even as a part-time player.
It’s unlikely that the Mets view Gonzalez as a platoon partner at the position with Dominic Smith, seeing as how both players are left-handed hitters. Gonzo can certainly serve as a veteran mentor for Smith in spring training, but if he shows he can still contribute, a trip back to Triple-A seems almost certain for the 22-year-old, who looked awful in his first taste of the big leagues last season.
While Bruce is expected to spend some time at first base, he too is a left-handed hitter, meaning the Mets may be on the hunt for a right-handed-hitting first baseman to complement the duo.