After nearly a decade with the Colorado Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez is nearing a deal to return to the club on a one-year, $8 million contract, sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.
Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star whose least productive professional season coincided with the rebirth of the Rockies as a playoff contender, will mix into an outfield that has Charlie Blackmon in center, Gerardo Parra in right and Ian Desmond in left. The deal was first reported by FanRag Sports.
A left-handed hitter who routinely battered right-handed pitching and whose home-road splits skewed heavily to Coors Field, Gonzalez batted .203 with a .274 on-base percentage on the road in 2017. At 32, only a year removed from a season in which he batted .298 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI (and fared reasonably well away from Coors Field), and having endured a sore shoulder for at least some of last season, Gonzalez is a reasonable bounce-back candidate.
Gonzalez is revered in Colorado, particularly in the Rockies’ clubhouse, where he gave of himself in the ways of the game and, for foreign-born players, the U.S. culture. Gonzalez is Venezuelan. When the Rockies jumped from 75 wins in 2016 to 87 in 2017, when they were third in the NL West and lost a shootout to Arizona in the wild-card game, Gonzalez searched for his swing and remained an optimistic, encouraging presence.
The club’s longest-tenured player, Gonzalez’s hold on right field grew tenuous with the expected arrivals of young outfielders David Dahl and Raimel Tapia, crowding an outfield that also holds Blackmon and Parra. Dahl suffered a rib and back injury in spring training and missed nearly the entire season. He is expected to return in 2018. Tapia, 23, is a leading prospect who batted .288 in 70 games for the Rockies last season.
A return to Colorado remained a possibility. Also, a market light on outfielders – J.D. Martinez, Jay Bruce and Lorenzo Cain led the class – seemed to open opportunities in places that sought a stop-gap for next winter’s richer market. This winter was historically slow moving and particularly tough on free agency’s middle class, in which CarGo found himself. He’ll start spring training with only three weeks remaining until Opening Day.
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