SpongeBob's time in Cleveland has come to an end, as the New York Yankees have claimed the now-former Guardians outfielder on waivers. Oscar Gonzalez spent parts of two seasons with the Guardians with mostly uneven results.
Gonzalez burst onto the scene at the end of the 2022 season, proving to be a catalyst in the Guardians' late-season run. From the beginning of August until the end of the season saw Gonzalez slash .301/.333/.477 with 15 doubles and nine home runs in 59 games. The problem was that this production was not sustainable, and a correction was destined to happen, and that correction would come rather quickly.
2023 was not kind to Gonzalez, as he struggled from the jump. The 25-year-old outfielder saw his slash line plummet to .192/.213/.288 with 15 strikeouts and only two walks in 75 plate appearances. This was hardly the production at the plate anyone was hoping for, and it would result in Gonzalez being sent down to Triple-Columbus. The second go around back in Cleveland was slightly better, but not by much. Gonzalez did see his slash improve slightly to .230/.257/.330, but the 31 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances while only walking three times is hardly an acceptable performance.
The unfortunate part of all of this is that the Guardians are in desperate need of an outfielder with power. Cleveland's current outfield configuration possesses little to no power, and that is a problem. A player like Gonzalez, who has shown that he is someone who has hit for power in his profile, would seem to be an ideal fit for their group. The problem is that he was not consistent enough at the plate to make an impact regularly. This would ultimately lead to Gonalez not being part of the organization's long-term plans and is now headed to The Bronx.
With Gonzalez now out of the picture, Cleveland has an open roster spot they would ideally use to add another outfielder into the mix. There are a couple of internal options they can explore, but it would not be the worst idea to acquire a known commodity that can immediately raise the talent floor. The Guardians should have plenty of options they could bring in via free agency or trade, and it seems like this is the area of their roster they will be aggressive in upgrading.