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Cubs free-agent target: Gio Gonzalez

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Hear me out.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Normally I wouldn’t recommend the Cubs look at a free-agent starting pitcher who is 34 years old and coming off a year where he had to sign a minor-league contract with one team, wound up being released, then signed with another club and had to spend some time in the minor leagues before being brought to their big-league rotation.

But.

Even with all that, Gio Gonzalez put together a 1.9 bWAR season, in only 19 appearances (17 starts).

And then there’s this:

Gonzalez vs. Cubs, 2019: five starts, 1.48 ERA, 0.945 WHIP
Gonzalez vs. all other teams, 2019: 14 appearances (12 starts), 4.29 ERA, 1.429 WHIP

I mean, it’d almost be worth signing this guy just to have him not pitch against the Cubs in 2020. He didn’t do this just in 2019, either; Gonzalez has a lifetime ERA of 2.49 in 15 starts vs. the Cubs. That’s his second-best against any team where he’s made at least 15 starts.

There are, of course, other reasons to sign him. He’s durable — before 2019, he had made at least 31 starts in eight of the previous nine seasons (27 in the other), although he did spend some time on the injured list in 2019 with what was described as “dead arm.” It didn’t seem to affect him much after he returned, as his numbers when he did come back (3.67 ERA, 1.349 WHIP) were pretty close to his season (and career) numbers.

As I said, Gonzalez is 34. Thus he’s not someone who’s worth a big-money contract, and as noted, he had to sign a minor-league deal last offseason before he made a big-league roster. Overall he made $2.1 million in 2019.

A one-year contract for $4.5 million and a club option for $5 million in 2021 would do it, I’d think, and Gonzalez, if nothing else, could be an inning-eating fifth starter.

Would you do it?

Poll

Gio Gonzalez...

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    $4.5 million for a year, club option for $5 million for 2021... good idea! Get it done!
    (142 votes)
  • 31%
    I like Gio, but for less money than above
    (181 votes)
  • 39%
    He’s 34. Pass.
    (226 votes)
  • 4%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (23 votes)
572 votes total Vote Now