The Milwaukee Brewers do not currently possess a left handed starting pitcher in their rotation. But if they retain one of their free agents, that could change.
The Brewers rumors mill has been especially quiet ever since the signing of Yasmani Grandal back in mid-January. But with spring training starting soon, things appear to be heating up a little bit.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Milwaukee Brewers are among several interested teams in the market for free agent lefty Gio Gonzalez.
The market for Gonzalez has picked up lately, now with former Brewer Wade Miley off the market. The top free agent lefty, Dallas Keuchel, is still out there, but there hasn’t been much reported movement in his market.
Would A Gio Gonzalez Return Be Smart?
If the Milwaukee Brewers would be getting 2012 Gio Gonzalez, then this is absolutely a genius idea. Even getting 2017 Gonzalez would be a pretty good get.
However, entering his age-33 season, and coming off a 4.21 ERA year, there are some questions about how good Gonzalez still is.
He does struggle with walks a little bit, but Gonzalez keeps the ball in the ballpark and has a career 47.2% groundball rate. That should play well in Miller Park. In his five starts with the Brewers in the 2018 regular season, Gonzalez pitched to a 2.13 ERA with a 0.947 WHIP. Granted that’s a small sample size, but those are pretty good numbers.
Gonzalez has battled consistency recently. He’d have starts where he’d give up five runs in four innings and look mediocre, while he could go out the next time and go seven strong and allow only one run, looking as dominant as ever.
While his results haven’t been consistent from start to start, what is consistent is that you know he’ll be out there on the mound every fifth day, making his start. Gonzalez has made 30+ starts in eight of the last nine seasons, and the only season he didn’t, 2014, he made 27 starts. He doesn’t get hurt and he’s a reliable veteran arm in a rotation.
What Could Gonzalez Cost?
Given his age and the current state of the MLB free agent market, Gonzalez is likely going to land a one year contract somewhere.
He could land guaranteed money similar to what Wade Miley signed for with Houston this winter, which was around $4.5 million guaranteed. The reason that Gonzalez will be able to get similar money despite being older and coming off a worse season than Miley, is that Gonzalez is a known commodity and has been established as a quality starting pitcher. Miley is not.
The Brewers are not without competition for Gonzalez’s services, as Nightengale has pointed out. But given the team’s relationship with Gonzalez and how he experienced playing in Milwaukee already, perhaps they’ll have a leg up on the competition if he wants to return.
The Brewers rumors mill has been short on names lately. Most of the names that are being circulated are the Crew’s own free agents, such as Gonzalez and Mike Moustakas.