Atlanta Braves: Why Alex Gonzalez Needs to Be Re-Signed This Offseason
Alex Gonzalez' contract expired with the end of the 2011 season.
During his one and a half years as the shortstop of the Atlanta Braves, he played impressive defense, as well as average offense.
For this offseason, the Braves' main goal is finding a competent shortstop for the 2012 season.
An obvious candidate is Tyler Pastornicky, one of the Braves' top hitting prospects. In the minor leagues last season, he hit an impressive .314 through 117 games.
However, the downside of Pastornicky is his lack of preparedness. If he were to be named the starting shortstop for 2012, he would most likely need to be platooned with another player. It would be much more productive for the Braves if they were to give Pastornicky another year in triple-A, in order for him to improve enough for the majors.
Another option is to sign a free agent shortstop. There happen to be a few impressive shortstops currently on the market; namely, Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes. The downside of these two players is their high expense and high demand. It is very unlikely that the Braves will manage to sign one of these shortstops.
This leaves us with, basically, Alex Gonzalez.
This is not to say, however, that Gonzalez would be a poor choice for shortstop.
For one thing, the veteran presence of Gonzalez is important to the Braves. As Chipper Jones is currently the only veteran position player on the roster, it is necessary to have someone like Gonzalez.
Also, Gonzalez provides great defense, which is good for the Braves, especially when most of their fielders are not much above average.
Gonzalez' offense is also not as bad as it may appear. While his average is fairly unimpressive, he does hit a few home runs, as he had 15 last season and 27 the season before, and he is often a clutch hitter. And during the final month of last season, Gonzalez was the Braves' top producer of offense, with an average of .367.
Although the Braves' options for shortstop are limited, re-signing Gonzalez would make a positive impact on their team.
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