Out of the blue, it was reported that the New York Yankees had claimed former playoff nemesis, Oscar Gonzalez, on waivers from the Cleveland Guardians
As always, the excellent Jeff Ellis of Locked On Guardians offered a good summary of the timing for the move.
There are some reasons for clearing a roster spot. 1) Guardians might be near some kind of acquisition 2) There might be a player they could be considering for the Rule 5 3) With FA occurring and the Rule 5 on the horizon right now is the best chance to pass a guy through waivers— Jeffmlbdraft (@jeffMLBdraft) December 1, 2023
Given Gonzalez’s inability to avoid chasing bad pitches, and to display a consistent ability to make good contact and lift the ball, it isn’t a surprise to see the Guardians try to sneak him through waivers and risk losing him to free up the 40-man spot. It is mildly surprising that no one got wind of the move until the Yankees claimed him.
I’ll always have fond memories of the Spongebob Squarepants Theme as his walk-up and his playoff heroics against the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees in the 2022 playoffs. For a brief moment, he looked like the 120 wRC+, right-handed hitting outfielder of our dreams (ok, calling him an “outfielder” is a bit of stretch).
I hope when Gonzalez retires that he’ll make the rounds at Guards’ Fests and the like. But, I think Johnathan Rodriguez likely offers similar production with hope for a higher ceiling and certainly better defense, so it makes sense to me not to duplicate that skillset on the Cleveland roster.