Gio Gonzalez signed a minor league deal with the Yankees earlier this week. We learned today that he didn’t have a choice, as Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports from Tampa today that it was the only offer Gonzalez received.
That’s rather surprising. No, Gonzalez is not Max Scherzer or anything, but he’s been a pretty solid pitcher over the years. Last year was, admittedly a down year, as Gonzalez went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA and a 148/80 K/BB ratio in 171 innings. He was solid in his five starts with the Brewers, however, going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA down the stretch. That, combined with several previous years of above-average results, is the kind of thing that’ll almost always land someone a job, either as an innings eater for a rebuilding team or at the back of the rotation for a contender. Instead, Gonzalez only got the minor league offer a week and a half before spring training was over.
It’s possible that there is some gray area and semantics at play here. For example, if Gonzalez and/or his agent spent the winter signaling to teams that he wanted a fat multi-year deal, and most teams valued him on either a one-year deal or a lower dollar multi-year deal, it’s possible that no one would bother. The expectations, as it were, making the extension of an offer seem rather pointless. That happens. It’s the same reason why I’ve never asked Gillian Anderson out on a date.
Sill, there are very, very few teams who have a full five or six pitchers better than Gonzalez on their staff. At least one of them, you’d assume, would think they’d have nothing to lose and extend Gonzalez a major league offer at or just below what, internally, they valued him at as opposed to what Gonzalez was asking for (or what he was presumed to expect). You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right? Short of that, how were there not multiple other minor league offers, the sort of which the Yankees extended? It’d be the ultimate no-risk move for a guy who stands a pretty good shot at being a decent starter in 2019. What’s the harm? What’s the purpose of not doing that?
Such is the market. Such is why, absent some major changes, there is likely going to be labor unrest in the future.