Relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez is officially a member of the Milwaukee Brewers after the two sides agreed upon a one-year, $2.25 million deal.
The 34-year-old 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 posted a 3.03 earned run average, 1.32 WHIP, 39 strikeouts, seven holds and 2.44 strikeouts per walks in 47 appearances for the National League East division champions.
Milwaukee will most likely use Gonzalez as a left-handed specialist, considering he held left-handed batters to a .179 batting average even though he has plenty of experience pitching as the setup man and closer. In fact, his 56 career saves could definitely be taken into consideration if current closer John Axford decides to be inconsistent in 2013. Gonzalez’s .237 opponent batting average last year and his ability to keep men off base is something the Brewers desperately need in their bullpen.
The veteran reliever will join a rebuilt bullpen that includes newcomers Burke Badenhop and Tom Gorzelanny. Meanwhile, Brandon Kintzler, Jim Henderson and Axford are three players from last year’s Major League-worst 4.66 ERA bullpen that pitched well enough to remain with the team. Milwaukee will be looking to add at least one prospect to the mix, who as of now is assumed to be Tyler Thornburg.
In addition to Gonzalez’s $2.25 million contract, there are also several incentives, including $50,000 if he pitches in 25 games, $75,000 for 30 and 35 games and $100,000 for 40 and 50 appearances. It is certainly reasonable to believe he can accomplish these goals because he has appeared in at least 47 games three out of the last four seasons. This is also quite the pay raise for Gonzalez as his one-year contract with the Nationals last season earned him $900,000.