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Could The Orioles Bring Back RHP Miguel Gonzalez?

November 30, 2017
Throughout the next several weeks, we'll be looking at some prospective free agents the Orioles may be interested in. Most of them are starting pitchers.
 
Miguel Gonzalez
 
Vital stats: Gonzalez is 52-54 with a 3.95 ERA in six major league seasons. The 33-year-old right-hander was 8-13 with a 4.62 ERA with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers in 2017.
 
Orioles connection: Gonzalez pitched for the Orioles from 2012-2015, going 39-33 with a 3.82 ERA. He was released April 1, 2016.
 
Where would he fit? Gonzalez's abrupt release was a shock to his many friends in the Orioles' clubhouse. He would bring experience and maturity to the starting rotation if he re-signed with the Orioles.
 
Why wouldn't he fit? The only reason he wouldn't is if he had more lucrative offers and still held a grudge against the team that released him.
 
Scouting report: "He takes the ball. He'll give you 160 innings," one major league scout said. "He throws strikes, doesn't walk many." Gonzalez is a "back of the rotation guy."
 
Gonzalez had been in the Mexican League when he signed a minor league contract with the Orioles in March 2012, a transaction that went completely unnoticed. He quickly worked his way up from the minor leagues and made his major league debut May 29, 2012, two days after his 28th birthday.
 
Gonzalez was a dependable starter for the Orioles' postseason teams in 2012 and 2014.
 
He was never a top-shelf starter, but Gonzalez was effective for the Orioles until the second half of 2015. He finished that season with six straight losing decisions and missed a month with a right shoulder injury.
 
In spring training the following year, Gonzalez had a 9.78 ERA.
 
Gonzalez's 2016 contract called for him to make $5.1 million. By releasing him, the Orioles saved 80 percent of it.
 
The Orioles tried right-handers Yovani Gallardo, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright in the starting rotation in place of Gonzalez, but none of them worked out. Gonzalez, meanwhile, has continued to pitch competently.
 
Had the Orioles held onto Gonzalez, he probably could've helped them enough so that they wouldn't have had to play the wild-card game on the road in 2016, and his steadiness would have likely secured the 2017 rotation, too.
 
In August 2017, the Orioles reportedly tried to trade for Gonzalez, but the White Sox sent him to the Rangers instead.
 
The Orioles need a few more starting pitchers to fit behind right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. While Gonzalez isn't as accomplished as Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, two right-handers who've also been linked with the Orioles, he would be a useful piece to add.
 
Assuming former teammate Chris Tillman signs elsewhere, the rotation would be left without a mentor for Bundy and Gausman, and Gonzalez could fill that role.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox