Pittsburgh Pirates News: Team Avoids Arbitration With Erik Gonzalez

Sep 11, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Erik Gonzalez (2) fields a high chopper during the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Erik Gonzalez (2) fields a high chopper during the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates and infielder Erik Gonzalez agreed to a contract for the 2021 season avoiding arbitration

Wednesday night is the deadline for MLB teams to tender contract to their arbitration eligible players for the 2021 season. On Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided arbitration with one of their arbitration eiligible players.

The player that the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided arbitration with is infielder Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez and the Pirates agree to a $1.225 million contract for the 2021 season.

During the 2020 season Gonzalez played in 50 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, accumulating a career high 193 plate appearances. Gonzalez also led the team in games and innings played at shortstop.

Gonzalez was a potential non-tender candidate for the Pirates. Especially since general manager Ben Cherington has expressed interest in moving Cole Tucker back to the infield, and presumably shortstop, for the 2021 season.

During the 2020 season, Gonzalez hit for a .227/.255/.359 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 62. His 4.1% walk rate was the second best of his career, but his 26.4% strikeout rate was the worst strikeout rate of his MLB career.

Defense continued to be Gonzalez’s calling card in 2020. He posted a 2.1 dWAR for the Bucs, to go with a +2 Defensive Runs Saved at shortstop and +1 at third base. He posted a +3 Outs Above Average at shortstop, and a OAA of 0 at third base.

Entering 2021, Gonzalez’s role is up in the air. He could enter spring training looking to compete for the team’s starting shortstop job once again. However, if the Pirates are looking to give Tucker an extended look at shortstop this could push Gonzalez to being the team’s utility infielder.

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Stay tuned here at Rum Bunter for news on how things shake out with the rest of the arbitration eligible players that the Pirates have. As well as all and any other news that breaks for the Pirates throughout the offseason.

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