The Milwaukee Brewers are still in need of another left-handed reliever but have yet to make any moves in free agency to acquire one. Should the Brewers take a chance on signing relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez?
The 34-year-old Gonzalez has played for five teams in his 10-year career. He started with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003 and had a solid season this past year with the Washington Nationals. Gonzalez could certainly be the veteran reliever Milwaukee desperately needs in their bullpen to accompany closer John Axford.
The Brewers parted ways with left-hander Manny Parra because they were not willing to pay the projected $1.6 million salary for a pitcher who went 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 2012. Jim Henderson is the only other reliever besides Axford on the team as of right now who will appear in the bullpen next year, although, Chris Narveson could be used in long-relief if Milwaukee decides to take him out of the starting rotation. Henderson is the assumed setup man for Axford but that could certainly change.
Gonzalez posted a 3.03 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP, seven holds and 39 strikeouts in 47 appearances in 2012. It was his best overall statistical season since 2009 when he went 5-4 with a 2.42 ERA, 10 holds and a career-high 90 strikeouts in a whopping 80 appearances for the Atlanta Braves. Nobody expects Gonzalez to put up those kinds of numbers ever again in his career, especially after undergoing knee surgery in the 2011 off-season. However, it is not far-fetched to think he could repeat his 2012 statistics.
Gonzalez earned $900,000 in a one-year deal with Washington this past season and could command a similar deal with Milwaukee on a one-year contract. He would certainly be worth the deal if he could keep his ERA under 3.50 and be an effective tool out of the bullpen. Not to mention, the Brewers’ relievers could use some veteran leadership, especially if Milwaukee plans on filling out the bullpen with a bunch of prospects.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.