As 2021 MLB free agents go, Gio Gonzalez may not be as highly valued as others. While it is true that Gonzalez is not in the same realm as Trevor Bauer, Jake Odorizzi, or J.A. Happ, he still has something to offer to a contender. He will be on somebody’s radar if he isn’t already there.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez Profile
Gio Gonzalez has been around MLB for 13 years. He has been used both as a starter and a reliever over his career, and his versatility has made him an attractive option to several teams. The 2021 offseason should be no different, as lefthanders who can both start and relieve will always find a home.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez: Early Years
Gio Gonzalez was originally drafted by the White Sox with the 38th pick in the 2004 MLB draft. Interestingly, while he signed with the Sox organization, he actually made his MLB debut with the A’s in 2008. He pitched four seasons with the A’s, with the last two being used as a starter.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez: The Peak
Gonzalez was traded to the Nationals before the 2012 season and it was in Washington where he blossomed. In 2012, Gonzalez went 21-8, with an ERA of 2.89 He logged 199.1 innings, and struck out 207 hitters. He finished third in the CY Young voting and went to the All-Star game.
Gonzalez was solid for the next three years with the Nationals, then struggled in 2016. After an excellent 2017 season, Gonzalez was traded in mid-2018 to the Brewers and helped lead them into the playoffs.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez Struggles
In 2019, injuries limited Gonzalez to 19 games. He did not pitch poorly but had become a four or five-inning pitcher. Thus, his value to the team was diminished. Even though he finished strong, the Brewers did not offer him a contract, and he became an unrestricted free agent.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez: Another Chance
On December 21st, 2019, Gonzalez signed a one-year deal with the White Sox, the team who originally drafted him. The deal included a team option for a second year. During the shortened 2020 season, Gonzalez struggled with injuries and effectiveness. He appeared in only 12 games, with just four as a starter. His ERA was 4.83, and the White Sox bought out his 2021 option, making him a free agent.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez Resume
Gio Gonzalez will be 35 years old on Opening Day 2021, so why is he still attractive to teams? Here is what he did from 2010-2018. Among left-handers, he was fourth in wins, fifth in innings pitched, sixth in strikeouts, and sixth in quality starts. That is an impressive resume, one that still resonates with MLB General Managers.
Yet, Gonzalez is older now, and teams must take that into account when considering whether to sign him. His 2020 season was less than inspiring and Chicago expected much more than they got from him, and surely will not be one of his suitors this offseason.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Gio Gonzalez Prospects
With all that said, where are the potential landing spots for Gio Gonzalez? So far, there has not been a lot of buzz about Gonzalez. After all, at this point in his career, he is likely a fifth starter or middle reliever. He is not a high priority now, at least not until some of the other big names sign their new deals.
Yet, with his track record, and the fact that he is a lefty, Gonzalez will be back in 2021. It will very likely be with a contender in search of pitching depth. With that in mind, some possibilities could very well include such teams as the Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Yankees, and Blue Jays. Maybe even the A’s would consider bringing him back. Another team who could consider signing Gonzalez is Tampa Bay.
Time will tell, and Gonzalez will have to wait it out until the top-tier pitchers sign their deals. Yet, with his versatility (and the southpaw factor), don’t be surprised if you see Gio Gonzalez pitching for a contender somewhere at some time. There is still gas in the tank, and Gio Gonzalez isn’t done yet.
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