It was a disappointing season for Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who posted career-worsts in nearly every category since making his MLB debut in 2004.
The veteran appeared in 71 games, his lowest total since becoming an everyday player in 2006, and struggled mightily at the plate. Over 252 plate appearances, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 with 17 doubles, three home runs and 30 RBI.
Gonzalez’s 69 OPS+ this season is the lowest mark he posted since his rookie campaign (63). What’s more, he accumulated the worst WAR of his career — a -1.2 showing, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations.
With the 2017 season now in the rearview mirror, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believes an offseason of rest and rehab for Gonzalez will enable him to enter Spring Training at full health.
“I think time in the offseason will really help. We didn’t really have that during the season, and it was trying to expedite things to get back,” Friedman explained. “It was a frustrating year from his standpoint, just how he never really missed time like this.
“He did everything he could to get back as quickly as he could. But when you’re running out of time in the season, you tend to rush things a little bit, which all guys do who are rehabbing from injury. I think when you get to the offseason, you have four months to rehab and strength train. We expect him to come into camp strong and healthy.”
Gonzalez, who turns 36-years-old in May, is eligible for free agency at the conclusion of the 2018 season. With one year left of team control and the emergence of 2017 National League Outstanding Rookie Award winner Cody Bellinger, there’s speculation that the Dodgers could trade Gonzalez this offseason.
Gonzalez is owed just shy of $23 million next season, and if healthy, could be an attractive option for teams in need of a stopgap at first base.
Should Gonzalez stick around in Los Angeles, he figures to primarily serve in a bench role. With Bellinger’s capability of playing the outfield, Gonzalez could still see a fair amount of reps at first base, as well.