After an almost three-month stint with the Columbus Clippers, Oscar Gonzalez is back with the Cleveland Guardians. The team recalled Gonzalez from Triple-A Columbus following the trade that sent Amed Rosario to the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night.
A return to Cleveland for Gonzalez always seemed imminent considering the overall lack of production from the Guardians' outfield. The team has been looking for internal answers for some time, but it was clear that the current group at the big league level was not sufficient. Bringing back Gonzalez after his time with the Clippers could be just one of several moves the team makes to augment their outfield production.
Oscar Gonzalez was able to find his footing with the Clippers, slashing .275/.316/.473 to go with 15 doubles and 11 home runs in addition to 58 runs driven in. Strikeouts were still an issue as he had 63 in 285 plate appearances (22.1%). It appears that this is simply something that the Guardians will have to live with when it comes to Gonzalez as this is not a new trend.
The 25-year-old struck out in 20% of his plate appearances (75) prior to being sent down to Triple-A Columbus. There was just an overeagerness to swing and force things to happen when he was in the batter's box and Gonzalez' .192/.213./.288 slash line indicates his overall struggles at the plate.
Cleveland is hoping that Oscar Gonzalez can recapture some of that SpongeBob magic from late last season. While it is far from fair to expect Gonzalez to perform at the 128 wRC+ rate during the final two months of last season, something significantly better than his 32 wRC+ of this season would go a long way. The Guardians are fighting to remain relevant in the American League Central division and an improved Oscar Gonzalez would certainly help their cause.