Detroit Tigers: Marwin González is one utility player too many
For Detroit Tigers fans, this latest rumor that popped up on Twitter about free agent Marwin González had a few fans scratching their heads with the follow up question of “why?”
The reason the question of “why” was brought up because González does the same type of things Niko Goodrum does which means he can play all over the diamond. While Morosi explains the reasons why quite clearly on why it would be a good fit, let’s examine the body of work and if this is a fit for the Detroit Tigers.
By the numbers
González hit .211/.286/.320 with an OPS of .606 in 199 plate apperances in 2020. He walked around a 8.5% clip and struck out at 20.6%. In terms of power, he hit five home runs and four doubles. Ok, that is the stuff on the surface. But let’s dive deeper, thanks to Baseball Savant.
González against fastballs in 2020:
- .189/.232XBA/.270SLG 2 HR (16-for-89)
Since we are comparing him to Niko Goodrum, here is Goodrum against fastballs in 2020:
- .260/.231XBA/.449 SLUG 3 HR (20-for-77)
Granted, 2020 was a strange season but there has been a dropoff in terms of ISO since 2017:
- 2018: .162
- 2019: .151
- 2020: .109
Also, his fWAR has declined since 2017 at his career high of 4.0. SInce then, 1.6 and 1.4 and last season, 0.2 but in terms of defense fWAR while playing the majority of the time
According to FanGraphs, his ZiPS projections for 2021 are .256/.323/.413 with 15 HR and 62 RBI. However, in terms of defensive numbers going back to 2019, his defensive fWAR is 4.3, just a few spots back from Jeimer Candelario for regulars who have started at third base. In 2020, González saw also a lot of time at second base and was a -0.3 DPR.
What about addressing the need to hit against right-handers better? González hits righties and lefties at the same average for his career (.261) but with more power against right-handers.
I get the idea of bringing in a veteran player who has won a World Series and familar with the manager. However, the Tigers have Goodrum and Harold Castro, who both can play anywhere in the field. Signing González, granted, he has more power, but then what to do with Goodrum? Niko played a great glove at short that he was nominated for a Gold Glove.
If they sign a second baseman like Jonathan Schoop, for example, then Goodrum would be the utility guy again. The idea of three utility players on the same roster does seem rather reduant from my perspective. González could bounce back but unless they have set at one position, Detroit should look elsewhere to fill the void at first and second. Gonzalez would be a better fit for a contender who needs bench help.
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