Carlos Gonzalez is a company man.
Even when the Colorado Rockies had Dexter Fowler, Gonzalez was probably the best center fielder on the roster. He didn’t play center field then, however, and he won’t play it now.
From a run prevention perspective, CarGo remains the team’s best center fielder. But in the interest of seeing him run into fewer walls and keeping life in his legs over the course of the long season, the Rockies will keep him in left field all year once again. You might be inclined to grumble about that (I know I am), but here’s the thing: CarGo wants it that way too.
Earlier this off-season, the team said it planned to move him to center field after a trade sent Fowler to the Astros. We know now that CarGo was not psyched about that plan, but like a good company man, he kept that opinion to himself. He said he was happy to make the move in the best interests of the team.
With the signing of Drew Stubbs to go with Charlie Blackmon and possibly Corey Dickerson as center field candidates, the Rockies made it official this week that CarGo will stick in left. He is relieved, though he still won’t throw management or his coaches under the bus (quotes from MLB.com):
I told [Weiss] if it’s going to be best for the team, it’s best for me…I want to make this team better. I know I can do it in both left field and center field, but it’s definitely more safe to keep me in left because it’s going to take a lot of your legs. It’s more for the team than for me that they can keep my offense.”
It is important that he stuck to the company line during the transition this off-season; it’s not that the Rockies ever have a lot of drama, but they did not need headlines about CarGo being unhappy with the trade, his role, the direction of the team, and so on. It appears that the Rockies rewarded his handling of the situation by making this announcement so early, assuring CarGo of his spot before the first exhibition game even takes place.
Hat’s off to CarGo for playing it cool, letting things play out, and then continuing to be understated about the whole thing after it went in his favor.