This is really painful for me to say. I honestly love Carlos Gonzalez. He was one of my favorite non-Giants for a while. But this year, he was clearly on the decline. At 32 years old, rebound seasons very likely don’t happen. Maybe for the all-time greats. But that is a category where Gonzalez falls very short of.
CarGo’s numbers in 2017 were the worst of his career in seasons where he played more than 100 games. In 2014, Gonzalez had one of his worst seasons with a .238/.292/.431/.723 slash-line over 70 games. He was able to bounce back then for his 29 and 30 year old seasons. But when you’re 31, there’s a good chance you don’t rebound, at least until his best years. Since that 2014 season, CarGo hasn’t been able to reach the heights of his 2010-2013 stretch.
Not only has Gonzalez seen a decline at the plate, he’s seen one in the outfield as well. Since 2013, he hasn’t had a positive UZR. He only had three outfield assists in 2017, which is his lowest total when playing 1000 innings in the outfield. If you even want to look at his inside edge fielding on Fangraphs, his numbers on likely plays (60-90%) took a significant hit, as did his on the unlikely plays (10-40%). The unlikely plays can be looked over a little bit, but the issue with these all is how demanding the outfield is in SF. It is a lot like Coors in terms of size, but it really does require three CF caliber defenders to play, and especially strong arms in right and center.
CarGo is getting older. It’s ok. He’s still going to be a very good player on a team that can afford to have an older player going. But the Giants need to beware of the temptations surrounding an old NL West foe that used to be a thorn in their side. CarGo might actually be good for a one or two year contract. But anything beyond that is silly. If he wants four years or so, then the AL is the place for him thanks to the DH. He just simply wouldn’t cut it in RF, especially for that long. Sadly, the Giants should probably look away from CarGo.