Could Carlos Gonzalez be back in a Colorado Rockies uniform in 2018? While it seems unlikely, there is a path that makes sense … if the veteran outfielder chooses to go down that road with a short-term contract.
In his column where he predicted the landing spots for the top 25 free agents this offseason, MLB.com columnist Jim Duquette is predicting that CarGo is back with the Rockies in 2018. Duquette forecasts that the Rockies, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals will be interested in CarGo’s service. However, the Rockies will win out.
Why would this happen? There are two factors.
First, Gonzalez was a part of the Wild Card celebration last season and he likely realizes the 2018 Rockies will have another outstanding chance at making the postseason. The 32-year-old outfielder understands that his personal window for playing is closing and he will want to be a part of a winning team with a chance to make a serious run in October. Would the Royals and Giants offer that? Both missed the playoffs in 2017 and have an uphill battle to make it in 2018.
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Second, as Duquette mentions, CarGo could sign a one-year contract and re-enter the free agent market after the 2018 season. It is unlikely that Gonzalez will be able to sign a big contract after struggling for most of last season so he could gamble that 2018 is a bounceback season that could pay dividends for him.
As a reminder, CarGo hit .262 last season and had a career-low .423 slugging percentage (not counting his rookie season where he played in 85 games with the Oakland A’s). Were it not for a September where Gonzalez hit .377 and belted six of his 14 home runs, the numbers could have been much worse.
Would Colorado benefit from having Gonzalez back? In the clubhouse, certainly. CarGo is a beloved veteran and admired by many of the players, including Nolan Arenado, who has gushed about him on several occasions. On the field, Gonzalez may lose his starting job if David Dahl is able to return to form and take over left field (moving Gerardo Parra to right) and Ian Desmond takes over on a full-time basis at first base. However, CarGo could well be suited as a fourth outfielder for the Rockies on a one-year contract.