As it turns out, we have not seen the last of Carlos Gonzalez in Colorado Rockies purple pinstripes. On Monday, the Rockies officially welcomed CarGo back.
After a down year in the last season of his seven-year contract in which he only hit .262/.339/.423 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI, which was salvaged by a September in which he hit .377/.484/.766 with six home runs, it appeared that the Rockies were prepared to move on from their long-time corner outfielder.
Fast forward to the beginning of spring training 2018, and Gonzalez was still unemployed. The Rockies used the void to get extended looks at younger players that the club believes will be crucial pieces in the push to get back to October: Raimel Tapia and David Dahl. Now, however, those players may now lose at-bats to CarGo.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today originally reported CarGo is coming back on a one-year, $8 million deal. However, other sources have it as a $5 million deal.
The Denver Post‘s Patrick Saunders reported that Gonzalez’s absence hadn’t gone unnoticed. Franchise cornerstone third baseman Nolan Arenado reportedly stated how much the team misses his personality in the clubhouse, and Charlie Blackmon has been quoted saying that he would love to have Gonzalez back with the club.
On Friday morning, things began churning. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that Gonzalez would return to Colorado on a one-year contract.
This is a good signing for Colorado, despite the overall terrible season Gonzalez had at the plate last year. He had a good August, hitting .279/.333/.419 and an exceptional September, which leads to confidence that at, just 32 years old, Gonzalez still has more to offer at the plate, especially on a one-year deal. He is still an above-average defensive outfielder, as well.
Don’t expect Gonzalez to occupy the everyday starting spot he had last season, though, with Dahl healthy and ready to contribute to the big league club after missing the entirety of the 2017 season due to injury. Tapia and Mike Tauchman should also see plenty of time in the outfield as the season goes along.
There are two scenarios. First, CarGo is back in the lineup as the starting right fielder. Second, he could be an off-the-bench option the Rockies can go to on days when they need to spell a now myriad of outfield options. Either way, he will be a valued contributor to the club as it enters its second year of expected contention.