The White Sox have signed former Baltimore Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez to a Minor League deal, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Gonzalez, who was released by the Orioles earlier in the week, will presumably start the year with AAA Charlotte as rotation depth in case of injury to or struggles by any of the current rotation.
Before the season, the Orioles had agreed to a one year, $5.1 million deal to avoid arbitration with Gonzalez, but after a disastrous 9.78 ERA and 8:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in spring elected to pay him approximately $1.25 million to play for someone else. Considering the complete dearth of quality starting pitching in the Orioles’ system, such a move says a lot about how the org felt about what Gonzalez can provide.
With that said, Gonzalez has had a fair amount of MLB success. From 2012-2013, he pitched nearly 300 IP of mid-3s DRA ball, with a slightly-below-average cFIP. Despite a sterling 3.23 ERA in 2014 159 IP in 2014, however, his peripherals suggested much less success, and in 2015 he was only useful as an innings eater. While throwing 150 IP a year certainly has value, his performance has offered little beyond that.
Given the state of the White Sox rotation, however, adding organizational pitching depth like this can still be helpful. Even with Don Cooper/Herm Schnieder magic, it’s not likely the White Sox will see their starting pitchers healthy for 161 of their 162 scheduled starts again in 2016, and when someone inevitably succumbs to injury (or one of John Danks or Mat Latos succumbs to being unplayably bad), Gonzalez is a nice safety net as someone who you can reasonably expect to throw passable innings. If the Sox are counting on much more than that from him next year, they’ll have much bigger problems on their hands.
One interesting ripple effect of this signing is likely moving Erik Johnson and Jacob Turner one peg down the depth ladder, and that presumably is by design. Both had similarly awful springs, and Johnson being outlasted in big league camp by 2015 draftee Carson Fulmer suggests a lot about how the Sox feel about his ability to pitch quality big league innings in 2016. And while this move likely doesn’t move the upside needle for the White Sox season outlook, the adage “you can never have enough pitching” seems to be instructive here.
Lead Photo Image: Jerome Miron // USA Today Sports Images