Mike Gonzalez is one of the best remaining unsigned free agents and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox “are monitoring the Gonzalez market” as they search for left-handed bullpen help.
After a long history of arm problems Gonzalez underwent knee surgery in October, but if healthy he’s an elite left-handed reliever. Gonzalez had 51 strikeouts in 53 innings for the Orioles and Rangers last season and has averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings for his career, which ranks second among all active lefties.
His control can be shaky and it’s understandable that teams were unwilling to offer him a multi-year deal as a free agent, but Gonzalez is capable of getting high-leverage outs versus lefties and righties and obviously his price tag should be plenty reasonable at this point.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.