Miguel Gonzalez is the White Sox’ new Miguel Gonzalez

Veteran stopgap returns to South Side on a one-year, $4.75 million contract

In the end, Miguel Gonzalez was the only pitcher who could ever replace Miguel Gonzalez.

Seeking a veteran pitcher who could give the team innings while ultimately knowing the team’s deal, the White Sox reunited with the guy who filled that role last year. Gonzalez is back in the fold for one year and $4.75 million.

As long as one accommodates his tendency to miss a month, he’s been a sturdy option over the last two seasons on the South Side. He’s contributed a 4.02 ERA, 269 innings and 3.6 WAR. It’s just never quite clear how he does it, as nothing about Gonzalez’s arsenal jumps off the page or screen.

He also contributed Ti’Quan Forbes to the organization after a last-minute trade to Texas in August, which is the other part of the existence Gonzalez willingly takes on here. If all goes well, he once again shouldn’t be a White Sox by September. He’ll have pitched well enough to get traded, and the White Sox will have enough young arms deserving starts.

Gonzalez seems fine with that:

“I know we’re rebuilding, but I’m excited for this season. Who knows? We can surprise some people,” Gonzalez said. “I talked about it with my wife and she loves Chicago.

“She enjoys it there. As soon as we started talking with the White Sox about the contract, I was pretty pumped, pretty excited to come back.”

It’s not quite a Miguel Gonzalez-shaped hole he left, but the Sox’ other recent one-year deals for starters — Derek Holland, Mat Latos, Felipe Paulino — show how hard it is to get reliable pitching without a sizable commitment.

The catch is that Gonzalez battled a/c joint inflammation in his shoulder that caused him to miss mid-June through mid-July. James Fegan noted in his article that Gonzalez “thought throwing tons of cutters contributed to his shoulder problems and sapped his velocity,” which would be a problem for a guy who relies on a kitchen-sink approach.

Yet while the post-DL version of Gonzalez used a more straightforward pitch mix, the cutter remained a steady presence, even if it never took over starts like it did at points over the first two months. He also had his best stretch of the season afterward, as he posted a 1.85 ERA over his last five starts with the White Sox before he moved to Texas. You’d have to call it one of the White Sox’ better injury cases of 2017.


[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith Gonzalez back, the White Sox rotation looks more or less set for 2018’s big picture: Gonzalez, James Shields, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. The remaining question is when Rodon will be ready, and how the Sox will bridge the gap.

Don Cooper gave Scott Merkin some insight into the first question. It isn’t much, but there isn’t much he can add at this point:

“I’m not counting on and I don’t think anybody is counting on him being ready to start the season,” Cooper said. “Obviously, we will learn more at SoxFest [Jan. 26-28] and we’ll learn some when Spring Training opens up.

“He’s going to have some ‘take-care-of-himself’ time, some ‘let’s-get-him-well’ time.”

Carson Fulmer would probably be the front-runner at this point, but it’s a topic that’ll be more useful to revisit after the White Sox announce a list of non-roster players they’re inviting to spring training. With a full 40-man — Jacob May was DFA’d to make room for Gonzalez — it seems like any final tweaks to the pitching staff are likely to come from the NRI pool.

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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MonicaMG

I like having him back. Should be interesting to watch.

Patrick Nolan

Sox might really be done at this point, which makes sense, but is boring!

gooch

All that’s left is whether Avi is traded or not.  If he is, we may need tomake a move to fill that gap.  If not, then I also don’t see anything else being done.

mechanical turk

It doesn’t seem very likely that Avi gets traded during the offseason.  The free agent outfield market may not be particularly inspiring but names like J. D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain are still out there.  I don’t think Avi’s being younger and not requiring a big ol’ contract offset his lack of track record and the prospect cost for just a few years of control (which will cost more if he does indeed keep things up) in making him a priority over other guys who only really cost money.  Have there even really been rumors about Avi?  Maybe if he gets a hot start to the season we’ll start to hear some chatter.

35Shields

There haven’t been many rumors, but considering the amount of teams that seem to be trying to get under the luxury tax, it makes sense why he’d be viewed as a favorable option compared to free agent alternatives.

The Giants, in particular, would be a good fit. Their trade for Longoria signals that they’re ostensibly competing. They desperately need a decent corner OF and they’re about $20m under the luxury tax right now.

gibby32

“amount of teams” is particularly jarring.  number.

Otter

Avi to the Blue Jays still makes sense. Giants if they don’t sign anyone. Diamondbacks if/when they lose Martinez. The Rays might see him as an upgrade. Seattle is so far in yet so far away that they would be interested too. So there are four or five teams depending on how FA shakes out.

After JD Martinez, the UFA market carries a bunch of risk from a quality stand point: Carlos Gomez and Granderson may be better than Avi in 2018, but they’re also all on the wrong side 32. Yelich is a superior player, but he’s going to cost a ton in prospects. So I wouldn’t count out a deal of Avi just yet.

But something needs to happen in order for anything to happen.

karkovice squad

Still better than 2013. At least the highlights weren’t Humber and Keppinger.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, but look at the roster they were being added to.

As Cirensica

I think Hahn may want to add more pitching.  I insist RA Dickey would be a good signing

katiesphil

I agree, but at least in part because I like both Dickey and knucklers in general. They’re so much fun to watch when the pitch is working.

As Cirensica

Yeah…he is fun to watch. The White Sox need source of fun because they won’t be coming in the form of wins (At least this year)

steely3000

Can our catchers even catch a knuckleball?

lil jimmy

Call J C Martin. I hear he is available.

Trooper Galactus

With MiGo in the fold, Dickey is pretty superfluous.  They’d have to shove Fulmer out of the rotation and back to Charlotte, and I think they want him to start out the season on the major league roster.

Ghost of Mike Caruso

Very happy to have him back!

asinwreck

This is an appropriately boring move in an appropriately boring offseason.

Otter

I’d still kick the tires with Andrew Cashner, though it’s so unlikely he’ll take a one year deal with the Sox or a one year with a team option on the second year. 

I’d also take a flyer on Chris Tillman. He’ll only be 30 next year, and while he was bad in 2017, a one year deal with a team option does make some sense. Tillman could easily go back to being a 2 win pitcher, and maybe Coop squeezes something out of him to where he becomes a real asset at the deadline. Or hold on to him for 2019.

yoyo

I’d say a lefty would best fill Rodon’s (a lefty) spot.  Preferably one who would be open to working in relief if asked at some point later in the season.  Maybe one of Jaime Garcia or Francisco Liriano would do it.

Trooper Galactus

Nothing about Liriano’s first stint here leaves me pining for a second one.

As Cirensica

Thank you so much for the blue new comment feature.  Very handy!

Warning, make sure you reply to messages after you went thru the blue messages otherwise after replying the blue features disappears

WhereisRobin

Be bullish or bearish on MiGo, that salary is cheap. My guess is that he’s getting his money from New Era. Look at the gif and you’ll notice his facial hair is basically an arrow pointing to their logo.

35Shields

Wow, that’s nearly $5m less that what MLBTR thought he’d get.

 

A $2.25m raise seems far less than what he should have gotten considering his last season

Patrick Nolan

The figure on MLBTR always felt high to me but my reasoning for that wasn’t rooted in any sort of concrete logic, comparison, or math.

35Shields

I’ll agree with that – a $7m+ raise would have been quite a bit.

At the same time, the raise he did get seems a bit low for a player with 4 years of service time, coming off of his second best season.

bobbysouthsider

…and the Blue Jays are paying Donaldson $10 million more.

Patrick Nolan

Hah! Suckers!

As Cirensica

Well, Donaldson is substantially a better player than Abreu.

Patrick Nolan

Some might argue…Hall-of-Fame-quality!

bobbysouthsider

Yeah, he’s better but $10 million better?

Gotta think Abreu at $13 million is even more attractive to potential trade partners now

katiesphil

JAYSFAN!

Patrick Nolan

Re: bobbysouthsider

Yes, $10 million better and more. Donaldson has been the 2nd-best player in the game since 2013.

 

Trooper Galactus

Technically, yes, Donaldson is probably $10 million better than Abreu.  He’s a high level defender at third and has an even more potent bat.  Abreu peaked out at around 5 WAR at his best, mostly hampered by lack of defensive value.  Donaldson had four straight seasons of 7+ WAR and almost hit 5 WAR in an injury-shortened 2017 campaign.  If you assume Donaldson continues to be at least two wins more valuable than Abreu going forward, then yes, he’s absolutely worth $10 million more, and arguably the divide is even larger.  The issue is more that Abreu is worth far more than $13 million and is having his payout suppressed by the arbitration system…Donaldson could probably argue the same even at his $23 million payday.

jorgefabregas

Does anyone remember what he was scheduled to make if he hadn’t opted into arbitration?

PauliePaulie

$11.5mil

bobbysouthsider

Donaldson – there has been a decline since 2015.  He’s 32.  Depending on how value WAR, he was about $5-6 million better than Jose was last year (I know he was hurt part of the year).  I think he’s closer to this number and definitely not more than $10 million better.

Maybe Jose’s agent just dropped the ball here….as Jose probably should have got $15-16M.  Then an $8 million difference at least is reasonable

bobbysouthsider

reply fail…this is to pnoles

Trooper Galactus

His OPS in 2017 was higher than it was in 2015 and he was still a solid defender.  Most people would kill to have that sort of decline.  If not for having an injury shorten his season he was on pace for another 7 WAR season.

yoyo

I could definitely see a few teams take notice of the low 2018 salary and reopen negotiations with Hahn.  Whether that leads to anything or not, who knows?

jorgefabregas

SSS is down. Is this what larry meant by heads on pikes?