Marwin excited to bring versatile glove to Twins

Gonzalez officially introduced after signing two-year, $21M contract

February 25th, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rocco Baldelli wants to be very clear: Marwin Gonzalez isn't a utility player.

"Can I make a correction? Not a utility guy," Baldelli interjected during Gonzalez's introductory press conference. "And I only say that just because it's something I've heard used before all the time. We consider Marwin an everyday player. He's just a multipositional everyday player."

The Twins' new multipositional everyday player, then, was officially introduced on Monday after he agreed to a two-year, $21 million contract, eager to hit the ground running in Twins camp after a slow-moving free-agent market kept him unsigned until nearly two weeks into Spring Training.

"It was kind of frustrating, especially the last week, going on social media and seeing everybody in a baseball uniform and you are just working out by yourself, getting ready for Spring Training," Gonzalez said. "But it was worth it. I couldn't be in a better spot than here."

Gonzalez arrived in good baseball shape after maintaining a workout schedule in Miami when Spring Training started two weeks ago, though he chose not to face live pitching before he signed. The Twins planned to take Monday to have discussions with Gonzalez and the training staff to gauge how much time he would need before playing in games -- potentially up to several days.

But once the 29-year-old is ready to play, the Twins aren't worried about getting him into the lineup on a regular basis.

Yes, the Twins have regular starters projected at every position, but chief baseball officer Derek Falvey pointed to the notable usage of deeper rotations by successful teams like the Astros, who have used Gonzalez in such a setting, and the Dodgers, who use players like Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger with more flexibility in the field.

"I think the best teams out there find a way to utilize all the spots of the 25 that you have out there," Falvey said. "Then you have a real opportunity to mix and match with guys who you think are everyday players if you do it right. The best teams have figured that out."

"Over the course of the season, we like to line everything up like everything works out perfectly and everyone plays 162, but that's not how it works," Baldelli said. "When you actually look at it and divvy it up, there's plenty of at-bats to go around to absolutely everyone and keep everyone fresh."

Though Gonzalez still considers himself to be learning the outfield, he appeared at every position but pitcher and catcher last season, including 73 games in left field. Baldelli is excited not only for Gonzalez's unique versatility, but also for how much Gonzalez has embraced the unpredictability of the role over the years.

"I don't know how to say it, but it is kind of boring for me to be in the same spot every day," Gonzalez said. "I fell in love with what I do."

Gonzalez said he never really had the example of another multipositional player to learn about the unique preparation that goes into playing at all of his different positions. But in Minnesota, he's eager to meet Willians Astudillo, who is also set to offer first-year manager Baldelli a significant degree of versatility among his position players.

"I won't say that he's my best friend or he's one of my good friends, but I know that he's funny," Gonzalez said.