The Brewers entered 2012 with Alex Gonzalez and Mat Gamel as members of the starting infield. Now there’s a chance it could happen again at some point in 2013.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the slick-fielding Gonzalez will return to Milwaukee:
Alex Gonzalez gets $1.5M from #Brewers plus the chance to earn nearly $1 million in performance bonuses.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2013
Gonzalez hit .259/.326/.457 for the Brewers in 2012 before tearing his ACL sliding into second base in San Francisco on May 5. It was the second torn ACL by a Brewers player in the span of a week — Gamel tore his in San Diego on May 1. While Gamel was fairly easily replaced by Travis Ishikawa and Corey Hart at first base, Gonzalez’s injury touched off a revolving door of temporary solutions at shortstop that included Cesar Izturis, Edwin Maysonet, Cody Ransom and Jeff Bianchi before the Zack Greinke trade eventually brought Jean Segura.
A Gonzalez-Milwaukee reunion has been long-rumored, as the Brewers have had a “standing offer” out to Gonzalez for much of the winter while he looked for a starting job.
While his 2013 salary may raise some questions on who’ll be starting at shortstop, it sounds like the Brewers intend to use him as a bench player. As Adam McCalvy says, the Brewers are “committed to” Segura as the starter right now — a point Doug Melvin emphasized at Brewers On Deck. Even if Gonzalez is just a reserve, he should provide plenty of value as a defensive replacement and pinch-hitter.
Segura may be the starter, but the Brewers have spent the offseason looking for veteran backup options. Prior to signing Gonzalez, Melvin added Bobby Crosby and Donnie Murphy to minor-league deals. Crosby and Murphy will still be in camp as non-roster invitees, but Gonzalez has likely leapfrogged them on the organizational depth chart. Bianchi will also be in camp as a member of the 40-man roster, but is out of options this year and will miss time in camp playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.