Gio Gonzalez
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Report: Gio González to opt out of contract with Yankees

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Yankees left-hander Gio González intends to opt out of his contract, per multiple reports from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the Yankees will have 48 hours to add González to the active roster after he does so, the prevailing expectation is that they’ll hand him his release instead.

González, 33, inked a minor-league deal with the team in mid-March, after which he had just enough time to log a single outing in spring training. He stands to earn a $3 million salary if the Yankees elect to add him to the 25-man roster, with additional bonuses of $300,000 pending each start he makes after that.

So far this season, however, the veteran southpaw has done little to inspire a call-up after pitching to mixed results in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He issued 10 runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts over his first 15 innings in the minors, and missed his last chance to pitch for Scranton (and plead his case to the Yankees) after Friday’s game was rained out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he then fired his agent, Scott Boras, and hired representation from CAA Baseball instead.

Still, it’s unlikely that this situation will turn out in González’s favor. There’s no doubt that he could boost his numbers to something resembling the 4.00-ERA, 2.0-fWAR results he produced for the Nationals and Brewers last year, but the Yankees are unlikely to take such an expensive gamble on the lefty right now, especially with a rotation that needs little improvement. According to FanGraphs, New York’s combo of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia, and Domingo Germán currently ranks among the top 10 rotations in the majors with a cumulative 3.77 ERA and 2.0 fWAR — totals that González would be hard-pressed to improve on.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.