While Gonzalez would seem to push Astudillo out of the utility player role, there's a good chance that could change. Gonzalez is only the utility player until someone gets hurt or gets benched. As Bonnes and Gleeman pointed out on the podcast, there are question marks to make it through the year at several positions: Sano could get hurt or moved from third or demoted; Schoop could fail to bounce back; and an injury could occur at just about any position. The benefit of Gonzalez is he can fill in almost anywhere as a starter without a big drop off. And when that happens, Astudillo or Adrianza would probably replace him in the utility role. Since Astudillo can also catch, and is a better hitter, he'll have a good shot at replacing Gonzalez when he becomes a starter.
This assumes Gonzalez is the first option should a position player go down and Astudillo is the first option as a utility player behind Gonzalez. Neither may be true.
What we know is Gonzalez was signed for two years, Adrianza is around (though injured), and Astudillo feels like a very good option as a full time utility player. Maybe Adrianza is going away, but we don't know. With Astudillo being the youngest and with the organization expecting him to fail, it's difficult to see him getting enough of a chance. There have been recent Twins who played well in the majors in their short chances but got passed over many times for players who performed worse and, in my opinion, they started to decline because of it. I would hate for this to happen to Astudillo.
And this is only considering Astudillo's chance as a utility player, not even as a catcher. I think Castro will have one of his best years in 2019 which will block Astudillo there. Castro is in a contract year and he is coming back from a year off. He will do well. If Castro fails, it's the end of his career and he knows it. Garver similarly (though not as desperately) also wants to prove himself.
Edited by Doomtints, 28 February 2019 - 02:13 PM.