Gonzalez was almost a Cardinal
My daily “Around the Horn” series took me yesterday to shortstop, where the Brewers have youth and promise in Jean Segura, and the steady veteran hand of Alex Gonzalez. Segura will be 23 next month. Gonzalez already turned 36.
Truth be told, the Brewers were a fallback for Gonzalez, who says he enjoyed his brief time in Milwaukee last season before he was felled by a knee injury, but was holding out hope for a starting gig in 2013, preferably at shortstop. He held a workout in Miami in mid-December to prove he’d recovered from ACL surgery and said more than dozen teams sent scouts, including representatives from the Red Sox and Cardinals who lingered afterward to talk to Gonzalez’s agent.
The Dodgers also eventually showed interest, to the point that Gonzalez and his agent sat down with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly to discuss how Gonzalez could fit — playing some third base and “pushing” shortstop Hanley Ramirez. But Gonzalez thought L.A. was already too flush with infielder. He thought the best fit might have been the Red Sox because they needed a shortstop, but Boston went with Stephen Drew instead.
He came closest with the Cardinals, getting deep enough into discussions that Gonzalez spoke directly with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny about Gonzalez’s willingness to try second base, maybe as a platoon mate with Daniel Descalso, maybe pushing Descalso into more of a utility role. Gonzalez would have also represented insurance for shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is coming back from elbow surgery.
Gonzalez was willing, but the Cardinals’ offer was a non-guaranteed contract somewhere between $1 million and $2 million. He asked for a guaranteed deal, and St. Louis came back with an offer of one year for $1 million, plus $1 million more if he made the team. It did not feel right, so Gonzalez re-signed with the Brewers for $1.45 million plus up to $800,000 in incentives: $100,000 each for 45, 60, 75 and 90 games played, and $100,000 apiece for 45, 60, 75 and 90 starts.
“I still want to be in the field every day,” Gonzalez said. “But I told them, I know the situation, I know they want Segura to have a chance. I know I can make adjustments.”
Here’s another link to the story from yesterday, which includes some context for Segura’s place among young Brewers shortstops.
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