Houston Astros: Marwin Gonzalez shows potential for postseason impact

Now that Marwin Gonzalez is back in a Houston Astros uniform, it’s very possible that he could become an X factor for the Astros as the American League playoffs creep ever closer.

It’s been a long and winding road for the 32-year-old Gonzalez since he left the Astros in free agency after the 2018 season. After logging 6.3 total bWAR in his final two seasons in Houston, Gonzalez put up 1.9 bWAR with the Minnesota Twins in 2019, but then plummeted during the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, posting just 0.2 bWAR as he slashed a paltry .211/.286/.320 with a 69 OPS+.

Things didn’t get much better for Gonzalez during his time with the Boston Red Sox to start the 2021 campaign. He batted .202 with a pair of home runs and 20 RBI in 77 games before he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on August 13. He was later released by Boston, signing with the Astros just two weeks after being his DFA by the Red Sox.

Can Marwin Gonzalez recapture his form now that he is once again with the Houston Astros?

It’s clear that Gonzalez’s teammates are glad to have him back on the roster, and Gonzalez proved exactly why on Wednesday the Astros are happy to have him back in the lineup. His two-run homer in an 8-5 home loss to the Seattle Mariners gave him half of the homers in five at-bats with Houston than he had in 242 at-bats this season with Boston.

With Houston a virtual lock to make the postseason (leading the American League West by 5.5 games over Seattle and 6.5 games over the Oakland A’s despite Wednesday’s loss), Gonzalez could well provide another weapon at the plate if he can rediscover the form he had in his first stint with Houston where he provided some offensive pop and defensive versatility.

“He’s an impact guy as much as anybody in baseball for a non-regular,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said shortly after Gonzalez rejoined Houston.

That quote sums up exactly what Gonzalez could bring to Houston as the postseason draws closer. If he can provide an impact on the field and a boost in the clubhouse, even off the bench, the Astros could be anything but overlooked in October.