Multiple reports Saturday night say the Mets will sign former All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. It is a low-cost, potentially high-reward move that is puzzling at the same time.
Since Gonzalez was released with a year to go on his contract, the Mets will only pay him the major league minimum. That’s good, since he hit just .242 with three home runs in 71 games in an injury-plagued 2017. If he’s at the end of his rope, it won’t cost the Mets much to find out.
But if he’s not done and he’s healthy, Gonzalez will expect to start. Dominic Smith is the presumptive starter, although Sandy Alderson’s comments about Smith clearly show the GM is not convinced of Smith’s immediate major league future.
So perhaps Gonzalez is insurance in case Smith does not work out. But wasn’t that one of the reasons Jay Bruce was brought back? And you can’t even platoon two of them because all three are lefties.
So here’s how it will likely shake out: If Smith does not light up Spring Training, he will be sent to the minors for some more seasoning, with Adrian Gonzalez as the starter. If Smith is good enough, then Gonzalez will be released or traded, the latter presuming he proves he has something left in the tank. And Bruce likely remains in the outfield.
Unless Smith is traded before Spring Training for second base or bullpen help. Although his value is not very high right now. That’s why this move is kind of puzzling; it requires another move for it to make sense.