Completion of the contract is apparently pending a physical. It's a major-league deal, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Gonzalez is owed $22.3 million in 2018 - the final year of a $154-million contract he signed in 2012 - but the Mets are only responsible for paying him the minimum of $545,000 as part of this deal, according to Puma. The rest of his substantial salary will be paid by the Atlanta Braves, who acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a five-player trade last month and released him within 48 hours.
He'll likely serve as both depth and insurance for the Mets at first base, where highly regarded prospect Dominic Smith is slated to be their starter. The 22-year-old Smith struggled in his first taste of the big leagues last summer, slashing just .198/.262/.395 (71 OPS+) with nine homers in 183 plate appearances.
The 35-year-old Gonzalez could then not only mentor Smith, but also - if healthy - provide a dependable option at first base in the event Smith needs some more seasoning in the minors. Slugging outfielder Jay Bruce, whom the Mets reportedly inked to a three-year, $39-million deal Wednesday, could also see some time at first base in 2018, reported Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star, is coming off the worst season of his 14-year career. Back issues - the first significant injury of his career - limited him to 71 games for Los Angeles in 2017, marking the first time since 2005 he failed to play in at least 156 contests. Gonzalez hit just .242/.287/.355 with three homers and ultimately lost his first base job to NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger.
While the back issues might raise some alarm, last season was something of an aberration on Gonzalez's resume. As recently as 2016, he hit .285/.349/.435 with 18 homers and 31 doubles for the Dodgers, while still providing a stellar glove (three defensive runs saved).
Gonzalez has won four Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards, and owns a career .288/.359/.488 slash line (130 OPS+) with 2,010 hits, 311 homers, 432 doubles, and 1,176 RBIs over 1,875 games with the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, and Boston Red Sox.
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