The Milwaukee Brewers are still mulling their options at first base to start the season following Mat Gamel‘s injury earlier this week. The chances of the club looking internally for the stop-gap candidate until Corey Hart‘s return are looking greater every day, which could mean that Alex Gonzalez will get work at first this spring. Just don’t expect him to be happy about it.
Gonzalez was the opening day starter at shortstop for Milwaukee in 2012. He was hitting .259 with a pretty decent .457 slugging percentage before blowing out his right knee in early May. In 14 major league seasons, Gonzalez has played nothing but shortstop, but this season, the Brewers have turned over the starting shortstop duties to the young hot prospect Jean Segura who filled in pretty well late last season.
Already reportedly miffed about losing his starting job, Gonzalez was ruffled even further when the team approached him to gauge his interest in moving to first. The club thought the veteran would appreciate the opportunity for some early-season at-bats, but were met with a less-than-enthusiastic response.
Manager Ron Roenicke has said he understands if the 36-year-old Gonzalez passes on the offer and would move on to focus on some of his other options, which includes Taylor Green, Bobby Crosby and Hunter Morris. Green is the only option with any big league experience at first base with Milwaukee, starting 14 games for the Brewers in 2012. Crosby played some first base during his time with the Oakland Athletics in 2009 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010.
Morris is a long-shot, but was the Brewers’ minor-league player of the year in 2012. He likely isn’t ready for the bright lights of the big stage, though, since he hasn’t had any playing experience above the Double-A level. His strong season there, however, will get him some hard looks this spring.
With Mike Carp no longer available and Gonzalez likely to balk at the opportunity, the Brewers’ options at first base are dwindling. Can one of the remaining candidates step up or will the Brew Crew have to sign outside help via free agency until Hart’s return?