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Milwaukee Brewers Free Agent Target: Marwin Gonzalez

The Milwaukee Brewers are always on the search for upgrades in the off-season. Could they be interested in a player like Marwin Gonzalez.

For the past couple seasons, Marwin Gonzalez has been Mr. Everything for the Houston Astros. He’s played every infield and outfield position for Houston and has played them all well. Perhaps he could fill a role like that for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers currently have a utilityman in Hernan Perez, but after an up and down season, there’s likely room for an upgrade. Marwin Gonzalez has similar defensive abilities to Perez, but is afar superior hitter.

Why Would The Brewers Want Gonzalez?

Let’s start with this piece of information from Jon Heyman.

Everyone but one team is interested in Marwin Gonzalez. Considering the Brewers have a desire to contend and a love for versatile players, we can easily assume they’re not the one team that’s out on Gonzalez. That one team is likely the Marlins or Orioles, teams that aren’t looking to spend money or contend.

So there’s already interest on Milwaukee’s side. And it’s not hard to see why.

Gonzalez has a .270 batting average over the last five seasons with 70 home runs. In the last two years, Marwin has shown an increased ability to draw walks and hit for extra bases. The 29 year old has proven himself to be a valuable utility player, totaling a 12.0 WAR in his career.

Where Would Gonzalez Play In Milwaukee?

For 2019, the easy answer is second base. He hasn’t been a regular everyday player in Houston, having never surpassed 500 at-bats in a season before. But that will likely change in 2019 with whomever he signs with. If it’s Milwaukee, he’s going to get the bulk of playing time at second base and they’ll move Jonathan Schoop to make room.

The problem is, Gonzalez is likely to pursue a multi-year contract. He’ll easily command a three year deal in this market, perhaps more. What would the Milwaukee Brewers do then? Keston Hiura will be ready for the full-time starting second base job in 2020, provided he isn’t traded or completely falls apart.

The good thing with Gonzalez is that he’s versatile. He could move into more of an outfield role but it’s be the final year of Ryan Braun‘s contract while Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich will still be in the middle of their deals. Perhaps Gonzalez could then move to first base if Jesus Aguilar regresses in 2019 like he did in the second half of 2018.

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After that, if he is under contract through 2021, he could move to the outfield since Ryan Braun’s contract will be up.

Why Would Gonzalez Want Milwaukee?

Gonzalez is from Venezuela and the Milwaukee Brewers have a very large contingent of Venezuelan players. This group includes Jesus Aguilar, Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina, Hernan Perez, Jhoulys Chacin, and Junior Guerra.

Chacin even said last season that he wanted to come to Milwaukee because of the large group of Venezuelan players. Players from that country are a tight-knit group and they all share a love for their fellow countrymen.

The Brewers have a tremendous clubhouse culture and that’s actually turned them into a free agent destination because other players see the enjoyable culture in Milwaukee and want to come here, market size be damned.

What Would It Cost To Sign Marwin Gonzalez?

Eduardo Escobar of the Diamondbacks signed a three year, $21 million deal prior to hitting the open market this winter. He has a similar profile to Gonzalez and could’ve made more on the open market, but he liked Arizona.

Gonzalez will sign for more than what Escobar got in his contract. A three year, $30 million contract is not out of the question for Marwin this winter, given his market and versatility. He could possibly get more than that.

Next: Podcast Ep. 8 – Trade Keston Hiura for who?

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It’s going to be a very competitive market for Gonzalez and the contract he signs will reflect that. For Milwaukee, it’s tough to see them signing him to the contract he’ll want and beat out other offers.

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