Yanks claim Gonzalez off waivers from Cleveland

December 1st, 2023

“SpongeBob SquarePants” is headed to the Bronx.

The Yankees have claimed outfielder  off waivers from the Guardians, the club announced on Friday.

Gonzalez, who turns 26 in January, enjoyed fan-favorite status in Cleveland when he began using the popular cartoon’s theme song as walk-up music for his at-bats in 2022 while helping to power the Guardians during their postseason run.

In 91 games for Cleveland that season, Gonzalez slashed .296/.327/.461 (125 OPS+) with 27 doubles, 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. He also memorably lined a walk-off two-run single that defeated the Yankees in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field.

But Gonzalez struggled this past year, prompting his demotion to Triple-A in early May. Gonzalez returned to the Majors in late July, posting an overall .214/.239/.312 slash line (53 OPS+) with seven doubles, two triples, two homers and 12 RBIs in 54 games.

The right-handed Gonzalez projects as a depth option on the Yankees' roster, as general manager Brian Cashman has said that the club is looking to acquire at least two outfielders this offseason, preferably left-handed hitters. The Yankees have expressed interest in trading for the Padres’ Juan Soto and are connected to free agent Cody Bellinger, among other choices.