After getting 316 plate appearances in 2009, Alberto Gonzalez went into the 2010 season without much chance to be a starting middle infielder for the Nationals. But the 27-year-old turned in a solid season as a utility player, filling in ably for Ryan Zimmerman in 28 games at third base and providing impressive defense in both middle infield spots, despite hitting .247 and driving in just five runs in 198 plate appearances.
Apparently, though, Gonzalez feels he's deserving of another shot to start.
In an article posted on the web page of Gonzalez's Venezuelan Winter League team, the Bravos de Margarita, the infielder says the idea of being a utility player doesn't agree with him, and he has thought about playing for a different team, even though the Nationals value him as a utilityman.
The key quote from the story (pardon the rough translation) is this: "Utility is not going to be me. I want to be second base or shortstop, but they are things that one should take it easy. I am young, yet I have time, I have a career ahead and I should not despair. Simply, if they do not give me these positions, you have to accept and see what they will do with me for next year."
Later in the story, he says, "I come to think of moving to another team, but the Nationals do not want change because for them I'm a good player because I can take any position for my defense. I hope it's what God wants, whether in Washington or any other."
I heard a few rumblings earlier this season about Gonzalez chafing at a lack of playing time, especially when the Nationals were trying to divvy at-bats between Ian Desmond, Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy, so this makes sense. But the infielder is at the Nationals' mercy; he won't be a free agent until 2015, so if he's with the Nationals, he'll have to make the best of it.
UPDATE: Reader Mike offers another translation of Gonzalez's quotes:
"Being a utility player isn't really my preference. What I want is to be a starter at second or short, but these are issues one needs to take calmly. I am young and I still have time. I have a career ahead of me and one shouldn't get upset. Simply put, if they don't start me, one must accept that and wait to see what they do with me next year."
"I have thought about going to another team, but the Nationals don't want to trade me because I'm a good player for them because I can play many defensive positions. It's in God's hands, whether it's in Washington or another team."