Indians release struggling veteran Carlos Gonzalez

Indians want to give young outfielders a chance to prove themselves

James Rapien
May 22, 2019 - 11:31 am

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians designated Carlos Gonzalez for assignment on Wednesday. The veteran outfielder posted a .210 batting average with two home runs and seven RBI in 30 games this season. 

"It was so hard because we loved the way he carried himself," manager Terry Francona said. "We loved his professionalism. And there’s a lot to be said for that. We weren’t seeing the offense that we needed and he said that, too. Does it come with another 100 at-bats? We don’t have a crystal ball and none of is smart enough to know what the next 100 at-bats might bring." 

Gonzalez, 33, signed with the Indians on March 17, hoping to prove he still belongs in the big leagues. He showed flashes early on, but never produced like the Indians hoped. Gonzalez struggled in the month of May, posting a .169/.242/.186 slash line. 

CarGo is still a premium defender, but the Indians want to give their younger outfielders a chance to prove themselves.

"We’re also at a point where we feel like we need to find out about some of these younger guys," said Francona. "And if we don’t find out that could be a mistake. There’s gonna be the Oscar Mercado’s, Naquin, Greg Allen, even though he’s not here right now. We need to find out if these guys are guys that we can win with. And sometimes the answer’s yes and sometimes the answer’s no, but not knowing is not good.”

Gonzalez was a model citizen in the Indians' clubhouse. He was willing to help the young outfielders like Jordan Luplow, Jake Bauers and Mercado. He knew he was struggling at the plate. He never let his issues impact the way he treated the youngsters around him. He was a leader and someone that young players in the clubhouse could look to for guidance. 

"We’re going to miss that," Francona said. "He had a big impact on a lot of guys. When he spoke, he wasn’t the loudest, but guys listened. Because what he said was true and he lived it out. When he hit the ball, he ran. He wasn’t hitting like he wanted to, but he didn’t pout. He showed up and was a professional and it’s very much appreciated. Especially when you’re sitting where I do."

The Indians promoted catcher Eric Haase to fill the roster spot. Haase will be the backup catcher with Roberto Perez out with a concussion.

Perez is expected to return in a few days, so the Indians decided to keep him on the roster, instead of placing him on the seven day injured list.