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Orioles: Signing Mike Gonzalez

potential new Orioles reliever Mike GonzalezAccording to Jeff Zrebiec at the Sun, the Orioles are about to sign veteran reliever Mike Gonzalez to a two-year deal. $12 million plus incentives if you believe Yahoo!’s Tim Brown. Whatever the money, they’ll surrender a second-round pick as well.

I don’t know anything about Gonzalez other than what’s in the Sun article and what I can gather from his career numbers (which are strong). What I can say, though, is that I’m not at all bothered by the move.

Losing the pick isn’t ideal but it shouldn’t hurt much. With the way the baseball draft usually works, after a few “can’t miss” guys in the first round it’s more about scouting, need, and signability than the position of the pick. As for the $12 million, they have plenty of payroll flexibility. Neither the total dollars nor the length of the deal are large enough to reach albatross status if Gonzalez is a bust.

On the first pass this seems solid. If he arrives in Baltimore and continues to (a) not give up home runs, (b) pitch to a sub-3.00 ERA, and (c) strike out a hell of a lot more guys than he walks, I’ll take it. But I don’t know if it’s enough to say “OK, back-end bullpen upgrade complete.” I’m looking forward to seeing what other O’s players have to say about it, and how Gonzalez carries himself. I hope that at the very least he’s a guy we can get behind.

(photo via Flickr user The Suss-Man (Mike))

7 comments to Orioles: Signing Mike Gonzalez

  • neal s

    The other thing about this is that it fits with what I said yesterday. Clearly they feel that Gonzalez fills a need, and I like that they didn’t wait for the market to come to them. It’s kind of an out of character move for MacPhail. I think most of us were asking for that, correct?

  • dan the man

    Correct for me.

    Neither the total dollars nor the length of the deal are large enough to reach albatross status if Gonzalez is a bust.

    This is the key statement here. The pick sucks, of course, but if you want some proven talent on your roster, you’re going to have to be prepared to give up some money and picks. The thing that, for me, makes it pretty easy to swallow is that it’s somebody with dominant numbers. If we’re losing picks to guys like Rodney (type B) who have less than encouraging numbers, or if we sign only a slew of question marks (Capps, Atkins, Crede or something), then I’m not as on board.

    At least this way, we have as close of a sure-fire guy as we could hope closing out games for us. And we’re not handcuffing ourselves doing it. Plus I like Andy going out and getting a guy before the market dwindles too much. Selective agressiveness.

  • Tomás

    Did anyone else notice that Atkins is in the article as well? Purportedly a 1-year deal, but with no specifics.

  • neal s

    @Tomás – Yeah, that article got updated at least three times after I first posted the link. The Atkins move is now up on the main page with a post of its own.

    I’m glad I was home and at the computer tonight.

  • Andrew

    Gonzalez is getting paid at least what Danys Baez did. Baez’s contract was considered an albatross, and untradeable. How is this better? If Gonzalez pitches well, he’ll be paid more.

    Making your closer your third highest paid player = stupid. Make no mistake, I hate this move. I’ll go sit in the corner quietly, I guess.

  • neal s

    @Andrew – I respect what you’re saying, but I can’t say I fully understand it. What exactly about Gonzalez do you find so distasteful?

    If the issue is money, I don’t get it. The O’s have cash and plenty of it. Even if — and this is unlikely — they end up wasting $16 million I don’t think it cripples them on other moves.

    If the issue is performance, what about his numbers suggests that he’s a bad pickup? I get that there have been health issues, and that’s legit. Seems to me, though, that if he turns in two years similar to what he did last year in Atlanta then this will be an improved team for it.

    If you’re saying that this might be Danys Baez 2.0, I’m not sure. Gonzalez has a better track record than Baez ever did. On top of that, Baez had his moments here. I don’t look back on him as a terrible pickup. I think of his time here as a mixed bag, but maybe that’s selective memory.

    This isn’t the kind of move that dramatically changes the team’s fortunes, but I’m hard-pressed to look at it and not see an upgrade. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m willing to listen.

  • dan the man

    This guy is no Baez, in my opinion. He keeps the ball in the park, he’s a lefty, guys hit like .200 off him. Baez was never that dominant. 10+K/9? Nasty. We have the money and we’re actually in a position now to be able to give up a 2nd round pick without it killing our rebuilding effort.

    I get why you don’t like it Andrew, but I think once this guy is blowing away all those left-handed Yankees you’ll warm up to it. And anyway, let’s see what else happens here and let’s judge the offseason as a whole.

    I will admit that YES, it’s generally not a good strategy to give a reliever that much money AND surrender a draft pick. But I’d rather overpay for two years than be stuck with a less expensive contract for 3 or more.