The mandatory position of Gio Gonzalez



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March 9 spring training notes: opening day starter, Hicks, Gregorius, Sabathia, Frazier

(Getty)

Last week, I wrote the first interesting thing I think I've ever written about Luis Cessa, that he was supposed to be a reliever, not a starter. A day later, Luis Severino had to stop warming up for a party because of an inflammation of the right shoulder. Later in the week, the Yankees announced that Severino and CC Sabathia would start the year on the casualty list. Suddenly, Cessa, Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga are looking down for an opportunity to make the Major League spin start the year, rather than the bullpen. Since there will be little room for Yankee depth, it may be wise to seek help outside the organization; that brings us to Gio Gonzalez.

I'm going with Gonzalez rather than, say, Dallas Keuchel because last week, Gonzalez was bound to the Yankees, not to Keuchel. I will also say, in a spirit of disclosure, that I have always loved Gonzalez as a pitcher. Why? I have no idea; he's a guy I'm always a fan of. This bias leads me to think that it would probably be better than one of the Yankees' deep options, mainly on the experience, but let's see if it's worth it.

Depending on where you look, Gonzalez had either a good year last year (2.0 fWAR, 2.2 WARP) or a very bad year (0.7 bWAR) in 171 innings between the Nationals and the Brewers. The numbers behind all this? A 4.21 ERA; a 4.42 RA; a 4.16 FIP; and a 4.17 DRA. Its market rate was 10.7, the first time it had risen so high since 2011. Its exit rate was 19.8, its first time under 20%. Its return home rate dropped to 10.4 HR / FB%, a trend after two years to 11.1 (2017) and 12.5 (2016). Its floor rate was 45.3%, its lowest level since 2014, continuing its downward trend. Its fast ball speed has also decreased since 2016, which is to be expected of a player who will turn 34 in September. But, in a way that would suit the Yankees, he offers something other than a fastball by throwing a lead. It has also increased its use of change by about 5% compared to 2017 and about 8% compared to 2016.

None of these trends really scream "sign me", is not it? I will answer my own question and say that is not the case, but there are positives. Its speed on the ground is still passable, especially when we look more closely at the 2018 pitch data. Its weight, its evolution and its curveball have all exceeded 50% GB / BIP, which is excellent. Her four seamstresses dragged her to 25% GB / BEEP. If Gonzalez concentrates less and less on his fastball and more on his toad, his evolution and his curve, he can perhaps return to a more important position with players on the ground. In addition, his change and his curve have better rates of breath / swing than his fastball, which could lead to a further rise back.

Basically, Gonzalez's idea comes down to these yew trees. What if they are worth the risk? May be? Gonzalez is a veteran pitcher who has a proven track record. Even with his warts, he'll probably be better than Cessa and probably German, but it's hard to ignore the potential of Loaisiga; However, his health is a question mark such as Gonzalez may be the best game to start. Again, it comes down to another if.

If Gonzalez agrees with a one-year contract, sign it. The risk is minimal and there are still options for minor leagues. If he wants a contract of several years, I think it's easy to pass.

March 9 spring training notes: opening day starter, Hicks, Gregorius, Sabathia, Frazier

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