SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was logical for the Rockies to change their minds. Three-time Rawlings Gold Glove-winning left fielder Carlos Gonzalez just didn't think it would happen so quickly.
Until this weekend, the Rockies planned on moving Gonzalez to center field to replace Dexter Fowler, who was traded to the Astros. But acquiring Drew Stubbs from the Indians gave the team an abundance of center fielders. Gonzalez figured the Rockies would take Spring Training to decide, until manager Walt Weiss talked with him a couple of times the last two days.
"He talked to me a couple days ago, and he said he was going to run me in center field and let the other guys make the decision for him," Gonzalez said. "Then he changed his mind. He called me yesterday and said, 'You know what, I think I'm just going to put you in left field now, leave you alone out there.'
"My first thing was, like, 'Why so quick?' We just talked … 'I thought it was going to take a little longer.' But I trust them."
The right-handed hitting Stubbs, who came in a trade for lefty reliever Josh Outman, avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.1 million contract. His numbers are much better against left-handed pitching, but he'll get a chance to prove he can also face righties. But left-handed hitting Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson are batting for at least platoon action, if not more. Right-handed hitting Brandon Barnes, who came from the Astros along with pitcher Jordan Lyles, is coming off a year in which he enjoyed consistent playing time in center.
Gonzalez has played all three outfield positions with distinction. He played significantly in all three spots when he won his first Gold Glove in 2010. Shifting back and forth in 2011 cost him the award because it was the first year it was done by outfield position (although he was one of the Majors' most effective outfielders). Fowler's emergence in center allowed Gonzalez to stay in left, where he had to cover significant ground at Coors Field but considerably less on the road.
Gonzalez said he didn't lobby either way.
"I told [Weiss] if it's going to be best for the team, it's best for me," Gonzalez said. "I want to make this team better. I know I can do it in both left field and center field, but it's definitely more safe to keep me in left because it's going to take a lot of your legs. It's more for the team than for me that they can keep my offense."