The Astros did not extend Gonzalez a $17.9 million qualifying offer prior to Friday's deadline, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. Gonzalez is officially on the free-agent market after spending the past seven years in the Astros' system. Though he took a step back from his breakout campaign in 2017, the 29-year-old still provided solid value as a Swiss Army knife for Houston this past season, slashing .247/.324/.409 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI while playing every position except pitcher and catcher.
Gonzalez (back) is starting at second base and hitting fifth in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Red Sox on Tuesday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. Gonzalez won't be forced to miss any action after colliding with the outfield wall during the Astros' 7-5 loss in Game 2 loss on Sunday. The utility man will man second base while Jose Altuve gets a turn at DH and Tony Kemp starts in the outfield. Gonzalez is 1-for-8 with a two-run homer through the first two games of the series.
Gonzalez said he's still nursing a sore neck and back after crashing into the outfield wall in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox, but he hopes to be available Tuesday for Game 3 of the ALCS, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. Prior to running into the Green Monster while tracking a Steve Pearce fly ball in the bottom of the third, Gonzalez gave the Astros a 4-2 lead with a home run off David Price in the top half of the frame. Gonzalez was evaluated by the Astros' training staff after failing to corral Pearce's hit and was ultimately allowed to stay in the game, though the left fielder noted afterward that he required an IV treatment an inning later. With an off-day Monday, Gonzalez believes the lingering soreness in his back and neck will subside enough for him to return to the lineup for Game 3.
Gonzalez will be out of the lineup for Game 2 of Saturday's twin bill versus Baltimore. He will start at second base and bat cleanup in Game 1, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. With manager A.J. Hinch looking to give each of his regular starters a breather during the doubleheader, Gonzalez will hit the pine in the nightcap. Over his past 11 games, Gonzalez is slashing .308/.400/.462 with eight RBI.
Gonzalez is out of the lineup versus Baltimore on Thursday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. Gonzalez will receive another day off as manager A.J. Hinch continues to rest some regulars with the Astros' spot in the postseason secured. Kyle Tucker will draw another start in left field in his absence.