Newest Twins player Marwin Gonzalez: ‘I couldn’t be in a better spot than here’
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Marwin Gonzalez couldn’t help but notice as players started to report to camp around Florida and Arizona earlier this month.
Normally, he would be reporting too. Instead, he was in Miami, working out and waiting to sign a deal as his free agency dragged on.
That wait finally has ended for Gonzalez, who signed a two-year deal worth $21 million with the Twins and was officially introduced on Monday, Feb. 25, at Hammond Stadium.
“I’m not going to lie. It was kind of frustrating, especially the last week going on social media and seeing everybody in a baseball uniform and you are just working out by yourself, getting ready for spring training,” Gonzalez said. “But it was worth it. I couldn’t be in a better spot than here.”
Gonzalez, who first-year manager Rocco Baldelli called a “multi-positional everyday player,” brings a unique set of skills to the Twins.
He was a shortstop throughout the minor leagues but said during his third year in the big leagues in 2014, he began moving around, eventually spreading from the infield to the outfield, too.
Last year, he played every position but pitcher and catcher for the Houston Astros.
“I don’t know how to say it, but it is kind of boring for me to be in the same spot every day,” Gonzalez said. “I fell in love with what I do. It used to be that way years ago that I wanted to be good at one position and wanted to play there and establish myself for my entire career and be one of the best at that position, but with time I fell in love with what I do and feel comfortable everywhere.”
He did that while hitting .247 with a .324 on-base percentage and a .409 slugging average last year. He is one year removed from his best offensive season in which he hit .303/.377/.530 with 23 home runs and 90 RBIs in Houston.
He has gotten more than 500 plate appearances in each of the past three years, getting regular time while moving around the field, which gives the Twins some roster flexibility.
“When you actually look at it and divvy it up, there’s plenty of at-bats to go around to absolutely everyone and keep everyone fresh,” Baldelli said. “It’s a great way to operate, I think, to have regular rotations of guys being out there. People are going to play almost every day.”
Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said the Twins have been monitoring Gonzalez all along with talks coming together more quickly in the past couple of weeks.
“(He) was somebody we certainly had our eye on all along for all the reasons that have been discussed,” Falvey said. “His ability to fill so many different spots and impact us and to get every-day at-bats doing so was something we saw as a real benefit.”
While Gonzalez has been working out and keeping himself in shape, it will be a few days before he gets into live game action.
Gonzalez said he has been taking some batting practice but didn’t step in against a pitcher before he signed to avoid risk of injury.
“That’s the one thing I need to do. I don’t know how long it is going to take or if I need a few days,” he said. “I can’t wait to be out there playing spring training games.”