The Marlins announced to reporters, including Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, that they have selected the contract of infielder Erik Gonzalez. To make room for him on the active roster, infielder Willians Astudillo has been designated for assignment.
Astudillo, 30, spent the first four years of his career with Minnesota, becoming a fan favorite due to his unusual size and profile. “La Tortuga” played every position on the diamond except for shortstop while with the Twins, including a few stints on the mound. He was also noteworthy for nearly constantly putting the ball in play, very rarely walking or striking out. However, his overall production lacked enough that the Twins designated him for assignment in November of last year.
The Marlins added him on a minor league deal in March, eventually selecting him to the big league team in May. Since then, he’s matched his profile, lining up at multiple positions, striking out just 5.3% of the time and walking just 2.6% of the time. His overall slash line of .270/.289/.351 amounts to a wRC+ of 84.
The Marlins evidently think that they can coax better production out of Gonzalez, based on this transaction. The veteran spent a few weeks with the club earlier this year, when they were dealing with a COVID situation. As such, Gonzalez was designated a “substitute” that could be removed from the 40-man roster without being exposed to waivers. During that time with the big league team, he got into 12 games and hit just .194/.286/.194 for a wRC+ of 49. However, he’s fared much better in Triple-A this year, slashing .339/.376/.431, 119 wRC+. With injuries to Joey Wendle and Brian Anderson, the Marlins have been trying to find infield solutions, including utility types like Astudillo and Jon Berti, with Gonzalez now being swapped in as the latest attempt.
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