Sometimes, David Stearns does the predictable thing instead of coming out of nowhere with a crazy signing or trade.
This would be one of those times.
Ken Rosenthal reports the Brewers have signed left-hander Gio Gonzalez to a one-year, $2 million deal that could pay the veteran starter another $2 million in incentives.
Free-agent left-hander Gio Gonzalez in agreement with #Brewers on one-year, $2M major-league contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal also includes $2M in performance bonuses. Guarantee is in full, not pro-rated.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 24, 2019
Deal includes performance point bonus system, sources tell The Athletic.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) April 24, 2019
2 points awarded for each appearance of three innings or more as a pitcher. 1 point awarded for all other appearances as a pitcher.
$333,333 at 25, 30, 35, 40 points.
$333,334 at 45, 50 points. https://t.co/ZMWer9D645
It’s a move that was made possible by Gonzalez opting out of his minor league contract with the New York Yankees that would have paid him $3 million once he made the major league roster and could have been worth as much as $12 million.
He made three starts in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, giving up 10 runs on 19 hits in 15 innings, while also walking 6 but striking out 19. Without a clear path to starts (and in turn, those incentives) in the Yankees’ system, Gonzalez opted out and the Yankees released him earlier this week.
A return to Milwaukee seemed plausible immediately, but with plenty of other possible suitors — including the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox — it was far from a sure thing. The Brewers needed some help with their starting pitching, but it wouldn’t have made sense to get into a bidding war for him.
Luckily, it appears to be a pretty sensible, low-risk deal. He’s far from a perfect pitcher — we saw that in his small sample size with the Brewers last year, when he had a 2.13 ERA in 5 starts despite walking 10 batters in 21 innings and going 5 innings or less in 3 of his 5 starts — but it’s hard to get too worked up over such a small guarantee.
The ceiling with Gonzalez won’t be high — he’s pretty clearly a 4th or 5th starter at this point in his career, otherwise he would have drawn more interest in free agency — and his ceiling certainly isn’t higher than that of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff or Freddy Peralta.
But with Peralta on the injured list and Burnes trying to figure out his fastball, Gonzalez is at least predictable — even if that ends up being thoroughly average. He should keep the ball in the park, but it’ll likely come at the expense of allowing more baserunners than what would be considered comfortable.
The team hasn’t confirmed the signing yet, and there’s no indication on if Gonzalez would be ready to join the major league rotation right away, or if he would need more time in the minors to get ready after not having pitched during spring training.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference