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Better Know a Brewer: Mike Gonzalez


My, how far things have come. Just a few weeks ago, it was John Axford, Jim Henderson, and Burke Badenhop in the bullpen. Things looked awfully lonely there, and fairly bleak. Then, the Brewers front office starting working on some late off-season moves (as they are wont to do).

Today, according to Ken Rosenthal and the fine folks at MLB Trade Rumors, the Milwaukee Brewers agreed on a one-year deal with left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez. It added not only a second lefty option in the pen, but another reliable veteran arm at the low, low price of $2.25 million for one year.

I should place a small caveat here – the front offices of the Milwaukee Brewers are technically closed for the Holidays, so this isn’t exactly official. However, with multiple sources confirming the same thing, we can pretty much consider this all but a done deal.

Mike Gonzalez is one more part of the picture in the 2013 bullpen. Will it look like success? (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Gonzalez was a late-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1997 amateur draft. In his eight year career in Major League Baseball, he played for five teams before landing in Milwaukee for the 2013 season.

Last season, Mike pitched relief for the Washington Nationals. He appeared in 47 games and put up a 3.03 ERA, surrendering just 12 earned runs and 2 homers in 35 and 2/3 innings of work. For a career, he has a 2.94 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and a K/9 rate of 10.3. He walks hitters a little more than I’d like – 16 bases on balls in 2012, with none intentionally passed – last year he had a BB/9 rate of 4.0.

But despite that, he has been incredibly successful over his career.  Using mainly three pitches – a fastball, slider and changeup – he has battled opposing hitters to an average against of .212 with a .284 BABIP.

Gonzalez offers a safety net in terms of adding another lefty to the ‘pen. He also continues a string of veteran signings for the Brewers pitchers, something that the team was lacking in 2012. It also allows for the opportunity to use Gorzelanny as a spot starter – which adds veteran depth to the starting rotation. All of this is in the air of course, but if there’s any doubt on paper I don’t see it.

Gonzalez makes good use of his abilities – even if he can’t stretch long innings in a relief role. He adds one more piece to the puzzle that was a huge hole in the 2012 season. Will it be a turnaround in 2013? If Mike Gonzalez’s numbers have anything to say about it – there’s a pretty good chance.