HOUSTON, Texas — Marwin Gonzalez on Tuesday became the first position player from the 2017 Houston Astros team that was implicated in a sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball to express remorse for the scheme.
Gonzalez, who is now with the Minnesota Twins, addressed reporters at the team’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.
“I’m here to tell how I feel and just that I’m remorseful for everything that happened in 2017,” he said.
The Astros won the World Series that season, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. Major League Baseball announced last month that the team used video replay to steal opposing teams’ signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons — tipping off their batters by banging on a garbage can — and severely punished the club, suspending manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a season, stripping the team of first- and second-round draft picks the next two seasons, and fining the franchise $5 million. Hinch and Luhnow were later fired by owner Jim Crane.
Gonzalez, who signed as a free agent with the Twins last year, said he wanted to especially express his regret to “the players that were affected directly by doing this and similar things.”
He was asked about former major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who had a disastrous outing against Houston in 2017 while with the Blue Jays and was demoted the next day. Bolsinger filed a lawsuit against the Astros, seeking damages for himself and wanting the Astros to forfeit the nearly $31 million in bonuses from the 2017 World Series championship, with the funds instead going to charities in Los Angeles focused on bettering kids’ lives.
“I wish we could take it back and do it a different way but there’s nothing we can do,” he said.
Asked how the scandal affects the legacy of the 2017 team, Gonzalez said that was “hard to say.”
“It’s hard to speculate. I still think we had one of the best teams in the last decade … great talent,” he said.
He also said it’s “hard to measure” whether the Astros would have won the World Series without stealing signs.
“You just have to play ball. That’s hard to know, you’re never going to know. That was a great team, great guys, too. It’s hard to answer that question,” he said.
Gonzalez said he is in still in contact with several of his former Astros teammates, whom he called his “second family.” He said he expects his former team to receive a rough reception on the road this season.
“That’s how it is, unfortunately. It’s how it is, they’re going to get booed,” he said.
Gonzalez said he was turning his focus toward the 2020 Twins team, which he noted has a chance to be “great.” That 2020 team includes right-handers Sergio Romo and Kenta Maeda, a starting pitcher on the 2017 Dodgers who was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Los Angeles this week.
Gonzalez said he will address the issue with his Twins teammates who were on the 2017 Dodgers and noted that he has eight months to bond with them.
“I’m sure that we’re going to have a great relationship,” he said.