The Yankees have recently signed left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal, but many fans are asking whether or not the deal makes sense.
We are now eight days away from Opening Day and two out of the initial five from the starting rotation or shelved to start the season. The signing of Gio Gonzalez was made official on March 18. While the Yankees seemed to wait until after the two-week period when Severino was scheduled to resume pitching, the much-needed insurance was money well spent.
While Severino is out with shoulder inflammation and CC is coming back from heart surgery, the time table for both is questionable. The good news is Severino will begin some sort of throwing on Wednesday, March 20th per CBS Sports. The pitching staff has in-house options with the likes of Luis Cessa, Domingo German, and Jonathan Loaisiga. From previous spring training starts, Cessa and German have stood out and have actually been dominant. While all three have had their fair share of struggles in the majors, it is hard to question the recent improvements of Cessa and German.
The question is, does the organization and fan base trust them to be the four and five starters to open the season? This is where Gio Gonzalez comes in.
It has been the off-season plan to upgrade the starting pitching and today, the Yankees are a little better than they were yesterday. A proven veteran with postseason experience can pay dividends for this 2019 squad. As reported by Jon Heyman, Gonzalez is set to earn $300,000 per start. However, there is a fascinating wrinkle to this contract. While the base salary is $3,000,000, there is an opt-out available on 4/20. If Gonzalez decides this isn’t the right fit, he could very much seek a new deal with a different ball club.
The durable Gonzalez definitely has some faults with his diminished velocity which may prove to be concerning, but if there is any indication that he could be a serviceable pitcher just look to his final starts as a Brewer. In five starts, he went 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA with a .947 WHIP. Fantastic numbers for the 33-year-old in a minimal sample size with the Brewers.
As fans, we underestimate the value of postseason experience; watching Verlander dominate the Yankees in the 2017 postseason was tough to swallow after the Astros acquired him late. Not to say Gonzalez is up to Verlander’s standards, but putting the pitcher in a position to thrive and flourish in a new environment and with a lot on the line could sustain a postseason run.
This deal is a no-brainer for both parties. The Yankees get a proven vet with playoff experience, and Gonzalez is able to try and win a World Championship with the most prolific franchise in sports.