The Braves have released first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported Monday. The Braves immediately designated the five-time All-Star for assignment on Saturday after acquiring him in a five-player trade with the Dodgers.
Gonzalez is now free to explore the free-agent market, with the Braves ($17 million) and Dodgers ($4.5 million) combining to pay the $21.5 million salary he’s owed for the coming season. Thus, any team that wants Gonzalez can sign him for the major-league minimum.
Gonzalez is coming off the worst season of his big-league career, as he hit .242/.287/.355 with three homers in just 252 plate appearances. He spent two stints on the disabled list — the first for elbow stiffness, the second for lower-back discomfort — and lost his starting job to rookie Cody Bellinger. Gonzalez was left off the 25-man roster for the entirety of the postseason as the Dodgers advanced to their first World Series since 1988.
As Gonzalez explores the free-agent market, it should be interesting to see how much of a desire he has to continue playing now that he’s 35 years old and has been hobbled by injuries for the past year. The odds are slim to none that he’ll be able to find a starting job with the number of quality first basemen around the league right now, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll even be able to get a major-league deal on a free-agent market that still features quite a few talented first basemen, including Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Mark Reynolds, Yonder Alonso, Matt Adams, and Mike Napoli. For what it’s worth, Gonzalez tweeted Saturday that he had agreed to fill a limited bench role if he was going to stay with the Dodgers in 2018, so there seems to be at least a decent possibility that he’ll be willing to accept a platoon or bench role for another club.