Yankees bolster outfield arsenal with another left-handed bat
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On Thursday, the Yankees expanded their roster of left-handed outfielders by inking a minor-league deal with Luis Gonzalez. The agreement encompasses an invitation to major-league spring training, as per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who reported the deal.
For the Yankees, Luis Gonzalez provides added depth to a position that has already seen reinforcement through several high-profile trades this winter. The acquisitions of Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham have bolstered the outfield. Additionally, the Yankees claimed Oscar Gonzalez, a right-handed batter with potential, off waivers, securing a spot for him on the 40-man roster.
Who is Luis Gonzalez
At 28 years old, Luis Gonzalez has accumulated experience in 107 major-league games since 2020, having played for the White Sox and Giants. Across 363 plate appearances, he has maintained a .253/.328/.363 slash line. The majority of Luis Gonzalez’s playing time occurred in 2022 with the San Francisco Giants, marking his rookie season, during which the Yankees’ newest lefty recorded a .252 batting average, a .683 OPS, and four home runs over 98 games.
In 2022, recurring back problems plagued Luis Gonzalez, leading to multiple stints on the injured list and overshadowing a promising start to the year. Regrettably, these back issues persisted through the following winter. The entirety of 2023 saw the Yankees’ latest acquisition absent from big-league games, as he underwent back surgery in March. Despite making a comeback from the procedure in July, his tenure with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate spanned only 27 games before San Francisco designated him for assignment. Subsequently, he was released in September, entering free agency.
The Yankees plan
Considering the competition for playing time from emerging talents like Everson Pereira and Oswaldo Cabrera, Luis Gonzalez is likely to kick off the upcoming season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The optimal outcome would see Luis Gonzalez rediscovering the promising form he showcased in the early stages of his rookie season. As a former third-round pick, he boasted an impressive .347/.384/.485 slash line over his initial 31 games, earning him the title of National League Rookie of the Month in May. In the event of injuries affecting the Yankees in 2024, Luis Gonzalez stands as a key component in the team’s contingency plan.
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