Those who were absolutely certain of a Bronx revival for former Cleveland Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez will have to put those plans on hold for the time being. That is if they even come to fruition at all.
The New York Yankees announced that they designated Gonzalez for assignment after agreeing to terms with free agent pitcher Marcus Stroman to a two-year deal. A spot on the 40-man roster was needed, and DFA'ing Gonzalez was determined to be the best move to clear space for Stroman.
Gonzalez was claimed by the Yankees on waivers back in early December, in a low-risk move. But a few notable additions in the outfield (Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grishman) resulted in any chances of Gonzalez putting on the pinstripes taking a massive hit. This trio, in addition to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, take up New York's outfield and designated hitter spots, making playing time for Gonzalez with the Bronx Bombers pretty much non-existent. Designating him for assignment for someone in Stroman who will play on a regular basis was an absolute no-brainer for the Yankees.
There is a chance that Gonzalez could remain with the Yankees organization if they are unable to trade him or can successfully pass him through waivers. However, there is a decent shot at another team willing to take a flier on him and hope he can recapture that SpongeBob magic he showed down the stretch in 2022.
It was a rough year in 2023 for Gonzalez after becoming a viral sensation and fan favorite in 2022. The 26-year-old outfielder saw his slash line drop from .296/.327/.461 (91 games) to .214/.239/.312 in 54 games. Gonzalez's strikeout rate jumped up six points from 19.6% to 25.6%, making it difficult to justify extended playing time to someone who managed just 11 extra-base hits last season compared to 38 the year before. Perhaps Gonzalez can catch on somewhere and find a way to show he is still a major league-caliber player, but until that happens, everyone will remember the disaster that was 2023 and not his impressive 2022 output.