Since Erik Gonzalez has compiled over 3.000 years of service time and was removed from the 40-man roster by the Pirates this season, he was eligible to elect free agency, which is exactly what the 30-year-old did on Wednesday, per his transactions page. Gonzalez spent three years with the Pirates organization.
Acquired from Cleveland along with right-handed pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza in exchange for outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff, Gonzalez put up a .236/.268/.324 slash line in 174 games with Pittsburgh, hitting six homers and driving in 47 runs. Although he never could muster much production at the plate, the sure-handed Gonzalez was regarded for his glove, and appeared at five different positions during his Pirates’ tenure, mostly at shortstop and third base.
This season, Gonzalez hit just .232 with a career-low .558 OPS in 71 games with the Bucs. The Pirates designated Gonzalez for assignment on Aug.7 to make room on the roster for outfielder Anthony Alford, and Gonzalez spent the rest of the season at Triple-A Indianapolis. He ended the year on the injured list with an unspecified injury.
Gonzalez first broke into the big leagues with Cleveland as a 24-year-old in 2016 and has spent parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues. He will now be free to sign with any team. It’s all but certain that his Pirate tenure has come to an end and will be playing for another organization in 2022.