Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said on Wednesday night that he was still searching for a starting shortstop. On Thursday, Toronto announced that it had signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2011 season. He will earn $2.75 million in 2010 and could make another $2.5 million the following year.
Gonzalez gives the Jays a second defensive-minded shortstop, along with veteran John McDonald, who signed a two-year deal worth $3 million on Wednesday. Strong “D” at the position will be important in helping make up for having Edwin Encarnacion in place as the starting third baseman.
Gonzalez hit .238 between stints with the Reds and Red Sox last season, but did hit .284 with five homers over 148 at-bats after being traded to Boston in August. If Gonzalez exceeds expectations on offense, Toronto may have an option for 2011 or at least a potential trade chip. If he underforms, the Jays only took a one-year risk.
Another plus for the Jays — a team in transition looking to strengthen its foundation — is the fact that Gonzalez is not a Type A or B free agent. Signing him will not cost Toronto any picks in the 2010 Draft. Adding Gonzalez makes it extremely unlikely that the Jays will re-sign Marco Scutaro (Type A).