Dec
02

And so it begins: Yankees interested in Mike Gonzalez

By

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees have interest in free agent lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez. If you frequent our weekly chats, then you know I’ve been predicting Gonzalez will be the lefty specialist the Yankees waste $4M on next season for about three months now. He’ll step right into Damaso Marte‘s vacant “bad lefty reliever” spot on the roster.

In all seriousness, the 33-year-old southpaw is coming off knee surgery and has held left-handed batters to a .241/.293/.350 batting line with 36 strikeouts, eight unintentional walks, and a ~46% ground ball rate in 148 plate appearances over the last two seasons. He missed most of last season with two small tears in his rotator cuff and fraying in his labrum, and was regularly booed off the mound for the Orioles. For what it’s worth, Gonzalez is also a very close friend of Rafael Soriano‘s from their time with the Braves. He’s no better bet than any other lefty reliever on the market, though.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League

44 Comments»

  1. Soriano Is A Liar says:

    Wasn’t it Mike Gonzalez that hit Nunez in the face in that extra innings game? I remember my friend getting all offended that the crowd was booing an injured player until I told him they wore booing Gonzalez.

  2. Steve (different one) says:

    I realize it seems like “here we go again”, but Gonzalez won’t get a 2 year deal, right? I mean, no one would have objected to Feliciano on a 1 year deal, would they? If it’s one year, ~$2m, might be a worthwhile gamble.

    • MannyGeee says:

      ummmm, how long you been following this team? you know its gonna be for two. Shit, might even be for 3!

      although I am putting my chips on 2 with an option…

  3. Thomas Cassidy says:

    I’d give him a 1/3M with incentives to 4M. Take it or leave it.

    • Brian S. says:

      I would offer him 0-0 and tell him to fuck himself. We have a full bullpen already, we need to stop wasting valuable resources on players that don’t have a significant impact on the team.

      • pinebarrens says:

        stellar way of going about things…

      • Thomas Cassidy says:

        It’s only three million dollars. Wouldn’t be a bad sign at all for the Yankees. If it doesn’t work out, nothing bad happened.

        • Dave203 says:

          It’s not the money, it the wasting a roster spot on him. You have to boot someone from our pen to sign him. We already have an overflowing bullpen of decent arms at much less than 3 million/yr.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Might mean booting Noesi back to AAA to start…

            Yankees carried Luis Ayala all of last season. He performed, but it’s not like they’re going to die without him or Laffey/Valdes or with their SP prospects in AAA… They can also cut/trade Gonzalez when Joba returns or even after spring training if he’s the odd man out.

            There’s also room between Thomas’ 1/3 and Brian’s 0/0… If they really do “have interest” in Gonzalez… could be on a minor league or league minimum deal… or they could be looking to give him some ridiculous 3/12 deal… we’ll have to wait to see.

          • Brian S. says:

            Also it is the money since we are getting real close to that 210 mil budget

          • Thomas Cassidy says:

            Low risk, high reward possibility. It isn’t a waste of a spot.

            Rivera
            Robertson
            Soriano
            Wade
            Joba
            Gonzalez
            Noesi/Logan (if Gonzalez doesn’t work)

            • Need Pitching says:

              Logan would be on the team either way. That’s what people mean by wasted roster spot, carrying 2 Loogy’s. And you know Joe will use them in big spots just because they are Lefty, and not because they are the best available reliever.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I’m really not sure how valuable a marginal million, two million bucks is to the Yankees. Not trying to say it’s not valuable… I really don’t know. It’s totally possible that it’s not particularly valuable, though. If they make a $50 million annual profit eating into that by $2, 3, 4 million is a lot different than if they make a $5 million annual profit.

  4. Cy Pettitte says:

    with Marte gone Cash needs another body to toss on the loogy scrap heap.

  5. Pete says:

    Umm – if he missed most of last season (not true), how come he pitched in 56 games and 53.1 IP? I don’t see how he could do that if he missed most of the season.

  6. Ed in SF says:

    If Freddy gets 1/4 and Capuano gets 2/10, how much can he really command? Market would suggest 1/2 tops, but who knows.

  7. CMP says:

    Cashman’s needs to get over his LOOGY fetish. Too bad he’s not as adept at getting good starters as he is at getting worthless injured LOOGYs.

  8. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Will this team ever learn their lesson regarding relievers? Jeez…if he’ll sign a cheap deal for less than a million fine, but if not…I dunno. His K rates and BB rates have been okay but goddamn.

    Who knows though, maybe we’ll see a Melky/Cano dynamic there between him and Soriano.

  9. Matt DiBari says:

    I still don’t understand why its so vitally important that we have multiple lefties in the bullpen. Has Girardi ever shown any ability to not blast through the entire bullpen in three innings when he has two lefties?

  10. dean says:

    Next Heyman will tweet……Randy Levine interested in Madson

  11. bonestock94 says:

    Minor league deal or bust

  12. Ted Nelson says:

    I think people are overreacting based on a belief that the success (and mostly the injuries more so than the success) of Cashman’s past LOOGY signings will somehow influence the success of his future signings.

    Seems totally possible that the Yankees are looking at this as a buy-low opportunity, not getting ready to give him a multi-year deal.

    While LOOGYs can be overvalued at times, that doesn’t mean that they (good ones) have no value.

    • Tom says:

      No people are reacting to the actual need of a 2nd lefty… now you can have 2 lefties in the 5th and 6th innings so Girardi can now manage game 42 like it’s game 5 of the ALDS. It has nothing to do with success in signing lefties in the past, and everything to do with wasting TWO bullpen spots on LOOGY’s when they Yankees had one of the best pens in the AL last year (and magically with only 1 LOOGY for the most part)

      The Yankees have 3 quality arms, another pretty good arm in Wade (who is actually pretty good vs lefties and does not need a LOOGY caddy) and Joba coming back mid year. Do you really need 2 LOOGY’s with that core?

      This is all about Girardi’s fascnication of lefty/lefty matchups at all costs without regard to context… and like last year it will lead to his utter stupidity in bringing in a LOOGY to face a bottom of the order lefty hitter (simply because he can) who has a .200 batting average and a .650 OPS – this hitter will then be pinch hit for by a better hitting righty and Girardi will be confused as to why he ended up with a lefty against a decent righty hitter as opposed to a much better right handed reliever against a crappy lefty hitter.

      Girardi has no clue how/when to deploy LOOGY’s and having 2 of them will be more mistakes and a quicker hook for starters not named Sabathia. They just need a low leverage arm to soak up innings – it shouldn’t matter what arm he throws with.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        You have done absolutely nothing to establish either what the value of Logan/Gonzalez is or what the value of an alternative for one of those spots it.

        Logan has been a very effective RELIEVER for two straight seasons… not just LOOGY. Gonzalez likewise is coming off a 0.7 fWAR season.

        “Yankees have the great Corey Wade at the end of their pen, so they don’t need any other relievers at the end of their pen…” that’s not great analysis.

        I stand by my original comments.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          *Gonzalez is one year removed from a 0.7 fWAR season…

          On a minor league or minimum deal I absolutely think he could be a better risk than other available relief pitchers. Worst case you just cut the guy and eat half a percent of payroll.

        • Tom says:

          I did not call Corey Wade great…. if you are going to stick words in quotation marks and assign them to someone,the least you could do is not make stuff up to then refute it.

          I said he’s a pretty good arm (which obviously means I think he’s great?), who doesn’t need a LOOGY caddy (he can get lefties out). Corey Wade last 3 years vs lefties: .726 OPS. Logan, you’re very effective lefty in general, has a .798 OPS against righties over the last 3 years.

          I think Logan is fine… but people are abusing stats when they call him effective in general and overreacting to a sample size of ~70PA’s last year vs righties.

          Career vs righties: 5.37/5.18 (FIP/xFIP)
          Career vs lefties: 3.39/3.32 (FIP/xFIP)

          Yup… that screams out this guy should be facing all types of batters. And the righty splits are fairly consistent… in every year but one (last year) he has had at least a 4.99xFIP against lefties.

          And if you are going to toss out fWAR for reliever… yikes. A FIP based model over such a small sample size? Compounded with leverage? You also need to look at HR/FB rates as with that small a sample, a skewed # there will really effect the fWAR since it is FIP based

          Gonzalez’s 0.7 fWAR was in 2010 (which you mention below)… what you failed to mention was it propped up by a 3.8% HR/FB rate (and was a 25 inning sample size). Last year it was 0.3fWAR, shockingly he did not repeat a 3.8% HR/FB rate.

          Back to the original point… people’s opposition to this move is not simply due to Cashman’s failures over the last couple of years with lefties (as your strawman suggests), it’s also due to some folks thinking having a 2nd LOOGY in the pen in the reg season is a waste of a bullpen spot.

          With Joba back mid year, I think any arm for some low leverage innings is fine for the right price (or a AAA arm). Maybe it is Mike Gonzalez, though knee surgery and not such a good year last year concerns me. Plus he’s thrown 40+ innings twice in the last five years. The issue I have is Girardi/Cashman forcing this because he’s left handed instead of just choosing the best available pitcher (instead of best available lefty).

  13. 101010 says:

    I’d rather sign Jorge to be our lefty specialist.

  14. well you know says:

    As a matter of roster seniority, Feliciano rolls over into Marte’s spot as Bad Lefty Reliever I.

    Gonzalez can aspire to succeed Feliciano in his well-reviewed non-performance as Bad Lefty Reliever II.

    • MannyGeee says:

      I was pretty sure that $8M to never throw ONE pitch in Pinstripes got Feliciano right into the Pavano wing of the ‘Good Money After Bad Hall of Fame”

      but i digress

  15. MannyGeee says:

    Dear World,

    CALLED IT!!!!!!!!!!

    Sincerely,
    RAB

  16. Dan in Atlanta says:

    Gonzalez was very good down here. Not saying he should get any sozeable deal but his stuff was certainly impressive

  17. Hornets686 says:

    Dammm I wanted this guy like 4-5 years ago… idk about now… but I always thought he’d be the perfect fit.

  18. Bronx Byte says:

    Gonzales in the bullpen would only work if Cory Wade regressed or up until Chamberlain returns in June or July.

  19. jack knife says:

    you people need to seee the LOOGY is right in front of us in Romanski
    you want to sign all these 33 and 31 year olds but not give him a chance look what he has done so far college standout ,team usa and risen thru the ranks and no one as mentally tough as this kid give him his shot

  20. Rookie says:

    If Gonzalez is healthy — which I understand is a big “if” — he could be a monster in the bullpen. And if he is and he returns to Texas, they could have a killer top three in the bullpen.

  21. jack knife says:

    GONZALEZ HAS A KNEE ISSUE AND A LABRUM ISSUE, hE WILL COST 4 MILLION A YEAR ROMANSKI WILL CAOS 400K A YEAR AND IS 8 YEARS YOUNGER CMON PEOPLE HE HAS THE STATS AND THE MAKEUP. HE JUST NEEDS THE SHOT IF HE BOMBS OUT OK BUT IF HE DOESNT WHAT A STEAL FOR 400K

  22. jack knife says:

    YOU PEOPLE LAUGH AT THE THOUGHT OF BANUELOS AS A LOOGY OK I CAN BUY THAT YOU THINK HALL IS NOT READY OK BASED ON HIS STATS I AGREE BUT ROMANSKI WAS 2.04 ERA IN AA AND 2.97 OVERALL HIS TOTAL WALKS IS MINISCULE (THAT MEANS SMALL FOR ALL U HARVARD GRADS) HE DID GIVE UP SOME HOMERUNS BUT ALL SOLO ONES HE THROWS STRIKES HAS FOUR PITCHES SITS 88-91 WHATELSE DO WE NEED FOR A LOOGY

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