Our 6th nominee is brought to us by the very lovely and talented Kristin Zenz. You may know her from her work on Pocket Doppler, where she spends her time writing about the greatest baseball team in the world…the Milwaukee Brewers. Kristin is currently studying neurogenic communication disorders, and plans to analyze each Brewers player to find out what is wrong with them. Her ultimate goal is to sit in the dugout and make them look at Rorschach ink blots until they suck less. We should all strive to be like Kristin. As we sit around and complain about how bad the Brewers are, she is out there searching for the answers. She is a modern-day Dana Scully (X-Files references are still relevant, right?). Being the modern woman that she is, she picked a current roster member to nominate. Also, be sure to follow her on Twitter (@10iskristin) unless you want to miss out on awesome…and no one wants to miss awesome.
Nominee: Michael (Mike) Gonzalez
“I have nominated Michael Gonzalez (or is it Mike? Pretty sure the Brewers announcers called him a different name every time he pitched) for the Hall of Brewers we won’t miss. It might be unfair to nominate him for this. I mean, he did have ONE WHOLE GOOD MONTH (June) this season. Just what you want in a LOOGY… one month of decent pitching! You can’t even blame his struggles on him being overused (even though the entire bullpen was probably overused this season). It seems like he allowed half of the runners he inherited to score. Actually, it seems like he allowed all of his inherited baserunners to score, but I know that wasn’t the case. Maybe he just had tough matchups this year, maybe he just had an “off” season, maybe he’s just not that good of a pitcher, OR MAYBE he secretly hated all of his bullpen mates and was laughing inside as he inflated all of their ERAs game after game after game after game. Either way, he was terrible and gave up too many home runs and walks and I never want to see him pitch in a Brewers uniform ever again.”
Michael Gonzalez was one of those off-season signings that makes you feel all warm and toasty inside. In 2012, the bullpen might as well have been a hitting tee. We demanded some more bullpen depth, so Uncle Mark and Aunt Doug went out and got us what we wanted. Little did we know, that only 1 of 3 bullpen pick-ups would be worth the money, effort, and man power.
Mike has played on 6 teams over the past 5 years. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997, which would put our editor Ben Orr at the ripe old age of 4. During his first few seasons with the Pirates, Gonzalez looked like he was going to be one of the premier bullpen arms in baseball. As a Pirate, he posted a 2.37 ERA. Which by my calculations is pretty f-ing solid. From there, Mike did what all good players do…signed a huge contract to go pitch somewhere other than Pittsburgh.
Over a 3 season stint in Atlanta, MG was as good as they come. I won’t bore you with the stats, but it was enough for the Orioles to double his annual salary from about $3M to $6M guaranteed. Pretty impressive. But something happened to him in Baltimore…
During his one and a half season in Baltimore he sucked. The Orioles could not even deal with how terrible he was, so they traded him to the Rangers midway through 2011. While in Texas he posted his career worst ERA (I was shocked that it was not his time in Milwaukee) a disgusting 5.14. This lead to him hitting the market again and signing a one year deal with the Nationals, where he pitched himself into our laps.
Look, there is a lot I could say about Mike Gonzalez and how he pitched this season, but there is one stat in particular that I think sums it up better than I ever could. Thanks to the majesty of Baseball Reference, we have a pitching stat that measures “Runs better than Average”. This tool measures the number of runs a player is better (or worse) than an average player. So an average player would score a zero, a great player like Clayton Kershaw stands at a 48, and a Jeff Suppan like Jeff Suppan comes in at -26 (in 2009 anyway). Mike Gonzalez gave Brewers fans a -6 in 2013. This means that Mike Gonzalez was 6 runs worse than an average bullpen pitcher would have been. Troubling statistics from a guy who does not care for advanced statistics (me). At this point I would also like to add that his 10.9 hits per game average, was the worst on the team.
You would be hard pressed to find someone who would be excited about Mike Gonzalez returning to the Brewers for 2014.
There are 3 categories that define a true HOBWWM nominee. Here is how Mike shapes up:
Stats – Depressing. For MG, the numbers do not tell the story. If he entered a game with a runner on base, every Brewers fan knew that run was going to score. Over the course of the season it just got progressively worse. I would say his 2nd half of the season was the worst we have seen since the first half of Eric Gagne‘s 2008. An ERA of 7.36 in August and an even worse 8.31 in September…ouch.
Money/Contract – Ever since the Gagne/Suppan debacles, I hate when we give guaranteed money to any pitcher (unless we would have spent it on CC or Greinke). Gonzalez got $2.21 million this season. That is $36,833 per strikeout and $42,000 per inning. This was a bad deal for us.
Likeability – Hmm. I have got nothing. He certainly does not have any blemishes on his record, but I also do not have any gold stars. If anyone cares, my Dad does not like him.
Now it is up to you. When it comes time to cast your vote…is Mike Gonzalez a player you Won’t Miss for all of eternity? Or is he just that guy who loved to inflate his fellow pitchers ERA’s? You will have to decide soon enough.