Carlos Gonzalez's 2014 season will be best remembered for one phrase, "fatty mass with tentacles."
That is how Rockies trainer Keith Duggar described what was found and removed from Gonzalez's index finger during a surgery in June. Gonzalez speculated that it may have been a Cheeto because he likes the cheesy snack so much and I'm going to go with that because the phrase "fatty mass with tentacles" conjures a much more gruesome image in my mind. The tumor in Gonzalez's finger caused him to be pulled from games early several times early in the season before he finally went on the disabled list in early June.
He returned from surgery in mid-July, but played just 18 games before returning to the DL with a torn patella tendon in his left knee, an injury that finally ended his 2014 season for good.
When Gonzalez was healthy in 2014, he hit just .238/.232/.431 with 11 home runs and 38 runs driven in over 260 at bats and 70 games. With those numbers, it is fair to ask if he was ever really healthy at any point in 2014, especially between his two DL stints when he hit .188 and struck out 25 times in 69 plate appearances. His strikeout rate for the season was actually down to 24.9% form 27.1% in 2013.
Some of Gonzalez's issues at the plate as he did post a BABIP of just .283, more than 60 points below his career mark, and had a career-low HR/FB rate. He did, however, have a career-low line drive rate as well, with his 15.3% mark in 2014 more than six points lower than what he had done in 2012 and 2013.
Gonzalez also posted the worst season of his career in the field, with all defensive metrics agreeing that he was subpar in left field. He was credited for -6 Defensive Runs Saved in his 48 games in left in 2014 to go with a UZR/150 of -17.5. The defensive metrics did like Gonzalez better when he played right field, as he was credited with a DRS of 1 and a UZR/150 of 14.9 in his 17 games there in 2014.
All of that added up to Gonzalez posting negative WAR in a season for the first time in his seven-year career, with -0.7 bWAR and -0.3 fWAR, generally a forgettable season for the All-Star outfielder.
2014 Grade: Incomplete
Strictly based on performance, Gonzalez's 2014 would be a D or an F, but that's not really fair to a guy who played essentially the entire season with one or both of a tumor in his finger and a bum knee, so he gets an incomplete grade.
What to expect in 2015
If he's fully recovered from his injuries, you have to expect Gonzalez to be back to being the Carlos Gonzalez we all know and love in 2015. This is still the guy that hit at least .295 with 20+ home runs and 20+ steals in his first four full seasons in Colorado, was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013 and nearly won the Triple Crown in 2010.
That said, Gonzalez's salary does rise to $16 million in 2015 and there have been rumors of him being traded, with at least the Mets having inquired about his services. So there is a chance we see him in a different uniform next season if that is the route new Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich wants to go, but if he is healthy and with the Rockies, expect vintage CarGo to be back in 2015.