Tigers And Gio Gonzalez. Sounds Good To Me.
By John Verburg
So recently, the word on the street (the street being MLBTraderumors of course) is that the Oakland A’s are willing to part with anyone not named Jemile Weeks. I say, what the heck Oakland, put him out there too, but I guess Billy Beane has to look like he is trying to build something. Anyway, I didn’t even need to scour that roster and the brilliant idea came to mind to scoop up their best pitcher right now. His name is Gio Gonzalez, and he is left-handed. Excellent idea John (patting myself on the back). Two things the Tigers need; a guy named Gio, and a left-handed starting pitcher. The bonus is, Gonzalez is quite good, and I am choosing to understate things a little bit.
I don’t think getting Gonzalez would come easy by any means, he is a really valuable commodity at this point. He is just 26 years old, and he doesn’t become a free agent until 2016. Someone should tell the Royals that Gonzalez is the type of guy that you trade Wil Myers and Lorenzo Cain for. Or maybe not, because I would like the Tigers to get him for a much lesser package. Somebody got a wish from a genie to waste? Doesn’t Beane owe us one for taking David Purcey off his hands anyway?
Okay, nuts and bolts time here. Let’s talk a little bit about why Gonzalez is somebody the Tigers should pursue by checking out his stats the last couple years.
I took the last two years for Gonzalez, to show that 2011’s All Star performance wasn’t a one hit wonder. After all, not a lot of people probably realize how good Gonzalez really is, as he pitches on the west coast, and more specifically for Oakland. In the past two seasons, Gonzalez has compiled a 31-21, with an ERA of 3.17. Maybe the best thing about the past two seasons is the fact that Gonzalez has started 65 games. In the past, he had struggled with injuries, but his health has been a key to him becoming one of the more dominant lefties in the game. You want evidence of dominance? Hmm…how bout a career strikeout rate of 8.6/9 innings? How bout hitters only posting an OPS of .649 the past two years against him, and a batting average of just .230? How about his 9.2 WAR the past 2 seasons? These all sound like good things to me.
His stuff is pretty excellent. His fastball, both 4 seam and 2 seam average around 92-93 mph. His curve has good separation as Gonzalez throws it around 80 mph on average. It’s also one of the better curves in the league, a true 12 to 6 curve that can buckle lefties knees, and get swings and misses. He also throws a change up as well, though that is easily his most average pitch. His major drawback is walks. The last two seasons, Gonzalez has average 4.1/9.
With the exception of the bases on balls, these things are going to sound good to a lot of GM’s around the league as well however, and the Tigers are going to have to pony up if they want to get him. Their system, which is rather barren already, would more than likely become more so, and the Tigers would probably have to give up a younger major leaguer as well. I think Austin Jackson would fit that bill. That would kind of match, considering the A’s don’t have a CF heading into 2012, with Coco Crisp being a free agent. But these are things the Tigers might be willing to do in order to procure one of the better young left-handers in the game.
I say pick up the phone. What can it hurt? Billy Beane has done some silly things before. Even with a movie made about him, he isn’t any great shakes as a GM. His team is bad, and he needs to add talent in numbers.
Time to take advantage.