The Miami Marlins signed Miami native Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal this week. If he makes the big league roster, he will make $1 million. The southpaw has had great success throughout his 13 seasons in the MLB, posting a solid 3.70 ERA. He provides a solid veteran presence in the Marlins rotation going into the 2021 season.
Here’s what Miami can expect:
A Veteran Impact
I have written countless articles detailing how the Marlins staff is in desperate need of a veteran guy to lead the young guys through a full season. Gio Gonzalez does not provide the value that, say, James Paxton would, but he fills the gap nonetheless. Gonzalez is a 2-time All-Star that has been a core piece of great rotations throughout his years. He could be a solid 5th man on an otherwise young and promising rotation.
Gio Gonzalez can pitch deep into ball games and has consistently shown his ability to do so throughout his career. In Miami, he is not being asked to be “the guy.” All he needs to do is get the Marlins to the bullpen on his day of work. At this point in time, I believe that Gio Gonzalez will put the Marlins in a better position to win on Day 5 than either Trevor Rogers or Nick Neidert. If Gio can keep it close on half of his outings, the bullpen will be able to steal games on days where the Marlins aren’t expected to win.
Gonzalez Regressing with Age
Statistically, and pretty obviously, he’s not the pitcher he once was. Ever since 2016, Gonzalez has consistently been regressing backwards. His FIP (true pitching statistic similar to ERA that accounts for external factors) was dominant in his years in Oakland and early years in Washington at averaging about a 3.00; however, since 2016, his FIP has slowly jumped yearly landing him at a 5.50 FIP last year in Chicago. Basically, what this tells us is that his quality of pitching was worthy of a 5.50 ERA (he posted a 4.83 actual ERA). His performance is unlikely to skyrocket back up, especially in a strong NL East.
Overall for Marlins
The Marlins won’t be asking much of Gio Gonzalez if he is a part of the rotation. His regression over the past few years may prove to continue, but I’d take his veteran knowledge over the younger arms right now.