New York: Gio Gonzalez for now is a New York Yankee. The 2017 Latino Sports MVP pitcher of the year, then with the Washington Nationals, was one of three premiere pitchers remaining on the free agent market and reportedly has neared a minor league deal with the team.
With the new season approaching a week from Thursday at Yankee Stadium, Gonzalez does have some obstacles to climb before joining the Yankees 25-man roster in the Bronx.
The lefthander in 2017 finished second in NL CY Young Award balloting. The deal with the Yankees will earn Gonzalez $3 million if he makes the roster. He can ask for a release if not added to the roster by April 20.
For the Yankees this amounts to a good move. It also gives them security of a veteran pitcher at the back end of their rotation at a minimal cost. The Yankees will start the season without Luis Severino who wont return from shoulder problems to at least the end of May. CC Sabathia could also start the season on the injured list with recurring issues to his knees and a minor procedure to his heart in the offseason.
For Gonzalez, an innings eater, the Yankees get a veteran who gets the ground ball out. Last season the 33-year old went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA combined with the Nationals and Brewers. During the postseason with the Brewers, Gonzalez appeared twice against the Dodgers. He was 3-0 with the Brewers with a respective 2.13 ERA
Obviously the Yankees have nothing to lose with this deal. Gonzalez plans to work his way back to being a premiere pitcher. And with the Yankees bullpen, considered the best in baseball, Gonzalez can throw five innings and that all-star bullpen will take over.
Gonzalez, with a career 3.69 ERA has averaged 187 innings over the last nine years with Oakland, the Nationals, and Brewers. His deal also concludes an offseason of speculation and where he would be come Opening Day.
At one point the cross-town Mets were heavily involved in talks to obtain Gonzalez. Citi Field has been a successful venue for Gonzalez and last season told media it was his favorite place to pitch. He has a career 1.78 ERA when pitching at Citi Field.
“It’s the right move and next step to getting where I want to be,” Gonzalez told Latino Sports. He was seeking a three-year deal and perhaps the new thing called analytics got in the way. Baseball is dominated with the stats and teams appear to be backing off on major deals for veteran players.
But for now, Gonzalez, who said he can pitch tomorrow because of daily offseason conditioning and throwing, it’s about having a spring training with the Yankees minor league system.
All eyes are on Gio Gonzalez and making his Yankees debut in the Bronx towards the end of next month.
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