Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What about Mike Gonzalez?

There isn't a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the Yankees, so many fans have turned their attention to the 25th spot on the active roster. Every other spot seems to be locked up except for one more arm in the bullpen.

And it makes sense that the team, in particular Joe Girardi, would like a second lefty in the bullpen. Cesar Cabral probably has the inside track on that job, but the Yankees do have Clay Rapada in camp as well (I'd rather go with Cabral). But what about adding another arm, preferably to a minor league contract with incentives?

Mike Gonzalez has had plenty of success in MLB. Over the last three seasons he's thrown 152.1 innings, with an ERA of 3.37 and a strikeout-rate of 10.18 K/9. However he does walk a decent amount of batters, as over the last 3 years his walk-rate has been 4.02 BB/9. But he did lower that walk-rate last year to 3.5 in 53.1 innings, although his strikeout-rate dropped to 8.6.

But looking at last year he's really only good against left-handed batters. Versus right-handed batters Gonzalez's triple-slash against was .287/.375/.525 in 120 plate appearances. However, against left-handed batters, Mike's triple-slash against was a really good .214/.264/.311.

So although he may not be somebody you want to see face opposite-sided hitters, he does seem like somebody the Yankees should look into. Heck, at this point, one would wonder why he's even available at all. But looking at his injury history it becomes clear why...

In the last three seasons Mike has missed 116 games due to injuries to his elbow, forearm, lower back, shoulder, and knee (he had surgery on his knee last November). Mind you, the majority of his time away came in 2010 when he missed 89 games due to two tears in his rotator cuff, and a frayed labrum. But you can see that he's not the most healthy person in the World, so it's far from a no-brainer for any team to sign him.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Gonzalez is a Scott Boras client. That means he's likely to hold out for more guaranteed money, as Boras clients are not ones to leave money on the table at all. And due to Mike's upside there may be a team willing to give him a Major League contract. Now, if a Minor League contract would get it done, then I see no issue what-so-ever bringing him on board. But the Yankees are in a position where they absolutely do not need to give out a Major League deal, especially to somebody with the injury track record that Gonzalez has had.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)