Astros: Gio Gonzalez possible short-term help in rotation
By Brian Murray
Gio Gonzalez is one of the top free agent pitchers on the free agent list, not named Dallas Keuchel. Could he be a short-term fix for the Astros’ rotation?
The rumor mill is still turning and several starting pitchers have been linked to the Houston Astros, as possible acquisitions to fortify their starting rotation. Most of the top 20 free agent pitchers have already been signed and the list is shrinking daily. Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez are the last two left considered to be the top ten.
A high profile trade for someone like Corey Kluber could be very costly in both salary and prospects. Dallas Keuchel has multiple suitors and is projected to get a contract in the 4-year/$82 million range. Gio Gonzalez, at the age of 33, might be more apt to accept a short-term contract and he’s projected to garner a more palatable $12 million/year salary range.
The two-time All-Star had a down year last year in a season that was split between the Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. His 2018 won/loss record was 10-11 and he had an ERA of 4.21, well above his career 3.69 ERA. But he was instrumental down the stretch, helping the Brewers sew up their division title by going 3-0 and compiling a 2.49 ERA in the five games he pitched after they acquired him late in the season.
The left-handed Gonzalez has had a successful 11-year career and had one of his best seasons as recently as 2017. He ended that season at 15-9, recording an ERA of 2.96. He was also 6th in the voting for the Cy Young Award that season.
As you can see, Gonzalez is still a talented pitcher that could fill that 3rd or 4th spot on the Houston rotation and probably won’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire him. He has started 30+ games per season in nine of his last ten seasons, showing his durability is no issue.
Signing Gonzalez to a contract might just be the nice short-term, left-handed addition the Astros could be looking for to help out, while the younger pitchers get their feet wet and prove themselves in the big league.