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Should the Rays sign Gio Gonzalez?

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He’d be a perfect stopgap until Rays pitching gets healthy, and a potential bulk role guy after that

League Championship Series - Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
Gio Gonzalez of the Milwaukee Brewers hops around in pain after twisting his ankle during the second inning of Game Four of the National League Championship Series
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Yankees were the surprise winners for Gio Gonzalez’s services after he couldn’t secure a major league deal this off-season, but after four starts in the minors (with the fourth rained out), the injury-laden Yankees hadn’t promoted him, and an opt out has been triggered to give Gonzalez his release.

Here’s how MLB Trade Rumors summarized his situation:

Although he was shelled in the season opener (eight runs in four innings), the veteran rebounded with a pair of excellent outings, yielding a combined two runs with an 18-to-2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings. He threw 93 pitches in the most recent of those outings (April 14), so Gonzalez is plenty stretched out and could even be ready to join a big league staff in short order. He was slated to make a fourth appearance over the weekend but had that start rained out.

Gio Gonzalez is good, and he was worth more than the $3 million guarantee he would have gotten on major league promotion in New York. He should have no shortage of teams with interest, as several starting rotations have gone belly up in April, but the Rays could also offer an interesting landing spot if he’s on the lookout for a contender.

Meanwhile, the Rays have two injured starters: Brent Honeywell Jr. has had his rehabilitation put on hold, and Blake Snell has already missed one start against the Red Sox (the Rays lost that game) due to a broken toe.

Snell is unlikely to make his next scheduled start this coming series, which means Tampa Bay will have three Openers pitch in a row, with a taxed bullpen already riding the Durham Shuttle in need of fresh arms.

After a stellar 2017 where Gonzalez kept his ERA below 3.00, last season showed he may be better utilized in a bulk guy role. The first time through the order, Gonzalez had a 2.16 ERA last season, but a 5.15 ERA the second time through. That’s the longterm outlook, though. In the short term, the Rays could use length (even with Chirinos, Yarbrough, and Beeks locked in for the three bulk needs). Gonzalez might be a ready-made answer until Snell can return.

If Gonzalez can return to 2017 form, he’ll lock himself into one of those three slots, but if he can’t a bulk guy role would be fine, should Gonzalez be open to an evolving role. If Gonzalez can’t make it work on the Rays roster, at that cost it’s not an expensive gamble. And best of all, it keeps a good pitcher from finding a home on another contender.

What say you?

Poll

Should the Rays sign Gio Gonzalez?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Yes - we need the length on the roster
    (271 votes)
  • 20%
    No - we’re better off with what we’ve got
    (72 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now