Throughout the past few weeks, we've been looking at free-agent starting pitchers the Orioles may be interested in and will continue to do so. However, the Orioles could be in the market for additional left-handed hitting outfielders, too.
Vital stats: Gonzalez is a 32-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder with 10 years of major league experience, the past nine with the Colorado Rockies. He has a lifetime slash line of .288/.346/.511. In 2017, Gonzalez hit .262 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs.
Orioles connection: None. He's played just three games against the Orioles.
Why would he fit? The Orioles need another left-handed hitter, and Gonzalez, who has played exclusively in right field for the past three seasons, would be an upgrade over Seth Smith.
Why wouldn't he fit? The only way Gonzalez wouldn't fit is if he commands a three-year contract, which the Orioles would probably pass on. They'd be comfortable with a one-year deal.
Scouting report: "I think he would be a good addition to the club," one major league scout said. The scout said it would be wise to sign Gonzalez after a down year: "That's when you try to sign these guys." Another scout said he thinks Gonzalez can still be productive, noting "any bat has a chance in your park."
While it's obvious the Orioles desperately need starting pitching, the only left-handed hitters currently on their roster are first baseman Chris Davis, catcher Chance Sisco, outfielder Jaycob Brugman -- who was acquired from Oakland Nov. 22 -- and switch-hitting outfielder Anthony Santander.
The Orioles intend to give Austin Hays, who hit .217 in 20 late-season games, a chance to make the club out of spring training, but Hays is a right-handed hitter, as are center fielder Adam Jones, left fielder Trey Mancini and spare outfielder Joey Rickard.
Gonzalez hit a career-high 40 home runs in 2015 and drove in 100 runs in 2016.
He's a good on-base guy, too. This past season, he had a .339 OBP, and on the Orioles that would have trailed only Smith's .340, but Gonzalez would provide much more power.
Gonzalez has always taken advantage of playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field, but he took it to an extreme in 2017. He hit .323 at home and .203 on the road. If the Orioles sign him, they'd hope he'd find Oriole Park just as happy a home as Colorado was.
Another concern is Gonzalez's inability to hit left-handers, which was much more alarming this past season than it was in previous seasons. During his career, he has batted .301 against right-handers and .261 against left-handers. In 2017, his splits were .283 and .206.
Gonzalez isn't considered a top-shelf defensive outfielder, but neither was Smith. It's conceivable that if he were signed, the Orioles could give him some time at designated hitter instead of using Mark Trumbo there full-time.
Gonzalez has only six games as a designated hitter, but stats show Trumbo is a much more dangerous hitter when he plays the outfield than when he's the DH. In 2017, Trumbo hit .331 in 31 games in right field and .207 in 111 games as the DH.
MLBTradeRumors.com projects Gonzalez will sign a one-year contract for $12 million. Gonzalez recently switched agents, and Scott Boras, his new representative, is known to wait out the market, so if this comes to fruition, it may be a late offseason signing.