Can Carlos Gonzalez have same effect for Cubs that Jim Edmonds had in 2008?
It's too early to tell how it will turn out, but if you're looking for a comp for what the Chicago Cubs are doing with Carlos Gonzalez, take a look back to 2008.
Back on May 9 of that year, the San Diego Padres released center fielder Jim Edmonds after he put up a line of .178/.265/.233 with 1 home run and 6 RBI in 30 games. Five days later, the Cubs signed Edmonds, and he went .256/.369/.568 with 19 homers and 49 RBI the rest of the way in helping the Cubs win the National League Central.
Gonzalez was in the middle of the action Tuesday night in his second game with the Cubs, a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies, at Wrigley Field. He hit an RBI double over the head of Rockies center fielder Ian Desmond and scored in the second inning as the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the Cubs an insurance run.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez began the season with the Cleveland Indians, compiling a line of .210/.282/.276 with 2 homers and 7 RBI in 30 games. The Cubs of '08 caught lightning with Edmonds, and the current edition is hoping to do the same with former all-star Gonzalez.
He still plays a solid right field, and he gives manager Joe Maddon another left-handed bat, one whom Maddon has slotted behind cleanup hitter Javier Baez.
"To what extent is he helping Javy, hitting behind him right now?" said Maddon, whose team has won two in a row to improve to 33-26. "He is a professional. In conversation, I'm getting to know him a little bit more. It's going to be fun watching him blossom as a Cub."
Gonzalez played most of this career with the Rockies. He seems happy to be making a good first impression with his new team.
"Like I said when I got here, this is a great opportunity for me, a great challenge as a player, just being able to wear this uniform," he said. "This is a great franchise. We play meaningful games."
Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (6-4, 3.16 ERA) gave up a run on 3 singles in the first. Gonzalez's double in the second drove in Baez, who opened with a single. The Rockies later walked Addison Russell intentionally to get to Hendricks, and Hendricks made them pay with a bloop RBI single.
Daniel Murphy, who played for the Cubs at the end of last year, hit a solo homer off Hendricks in the fourth.
Kyle Schwarber hit a 467-foot home run to the back of the bleachers in the fifth. Baez added a 2-run shot, to dead-center, in the sixth.
Hendricks worked 7 innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while walking one and striking out 10. He leads the Cubs with 7 quality starts and 6 starts of at least 7 innings.
"I think Joe knows me so well know that he can see when I'm kind of going good and when I'm not," Hendricks said. "Tonight I was feeling strong. I still was making good pitches."
Hendricks also has been impressed by Gonzalez.
"Oh, yeah, he's already been a huge impact, a huge lift for us, and it's been awesome to watch out there," he said.