Kicking off this offseason's series of player reviews is none other than the Sea Bass himself, Mr. Alex Gonzalez!
Yes, you! Do you have a question for me?
"Professor Kaiser, didn't he only play like 10 games at the beginning of the season for the Tigers?"
Well, yes. Alex Gonzalez actually only appeared in nine games for the Tigers, but he still kick started the season with a bang, therefore I saw it fitting to have him kick-off our player report cards! Also, I am not a professor.
Alex Gonzalez was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on March 24 in exchange for utility man Steve Lombardozzi. With a recommendation from infield coach and former defensive wizard Omar Vizquel, the 37-year-old Gonzalez was "expected" to be the everyday shortstop of the Tigers. Honestly, I would have rather had the 47-year-old Vizquel play short ...
Alex Gonzalez's stats in nine games look exactly how you would think a guy who only played nine games would look. In 32 plate appearances, Gonzalez had five hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and two RBI, which was good for a .167 batting average, a .219 on-base percentage, a .233 slugging average, and a .206 weighted on-base percentage (wOBA). He was worth 23 wRC+, nearly double the 12 he was worth in 2013. On defense, there was also not much to like. In 72 1/3 innings at shortstop he posted an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -1.8, which equates to an Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games (UZR/150) of -24.3. Using Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Gonzalez was even worse. According to DRS, Gonzalez cost the Tigers four runs. Put it all together, and Alex Gonzalez was worth -0.3 WAR in only NINE GAMES. No wonder he was released on April 20.
A little harsh? Not at all. Gonzalez failed to stay on the roster for even a month. Naturally, that means he flunked the course. Alex Gonzalez provided the Tigers with a triple and a walk-off single on Opening Day. Other than that, he did not bring the Tigers any value, in fact he was actually worth nearly a third of a loss if you believe in WAR (which I do). Thankfully, the Tigers didn't give up anyone valuable to acquire him. Lombardozzi ended up spending the majority of his season in Triple-A. Plus, it's not like the Tigers gave up anyone valuable to acquire Lombardozzi ... Too soon? Too soon.