Mike Gonzalez latest new face in Brewers bullpen | Disciples of Uecker

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After spending much of the offseason staying quiet, the Brewers are making their second signing in about a week.

Eight days after agreeing with Tom Gorzelanny, Doug Melvin has added another 2012 Washington lefty to his 2013 bullpen. Gonzalez is much more of a strict LOOGY than Gorzelanny — while his career splits (.209/.278/.327 vs LHB, .222/.325/.349 vs RHB) are respectable, he’s struggled against righties in recent years (in 2012, they hit him for a .297/.378/.484 line).

The addition of Gonzalez means Ron Roenicke will be free to use Gorzelanny for a full inning if he wishes to do so, or it could allow him to go the Tony La Russa route and start playing L-L matchups earlier in the game.

Gorzelanny’s signing last week put the Brewers at capacity with their 40-man roster, so someone will have to be removed to make room for Gonzalez. Once everything shakes out, it looks like the Brewers might only have one spot up for grabs heading into spring training if you assume a standard five-starter, 12-man staff.

In the bullpen, John Axford, Jim Henderson, Burke Badenhop, Brandon Kintzler, Gorzelanny and Gonzalez would seem to have spots locked up. If the Brewers don’t sign another reliever (which isn’t totally out of the question), that leaves the likes of Fautino and Miguel De Los Santos, Arcenio Leon, Santo Manzanillo, Michael Olmsted, Jesus Sanchez and Josh Stinson to fight for that one spot. Tyler Thornburg and Greinke trade pieces Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena could also be in the mix, but the Brewers seem determined to keep all three as starters. Nick Bucci and Hiram Burgos will also be in camp as 40-man roster guys, while Jairo Asencio, Darren Byrd, Alfredo Figaro and Travis Webb are your non-roster invitees at the moment.

Gonzalez will be 35 in 2013 and is entering his 11th season in the majors. The Brewers will be his 6th team, and 4th in three years. He’s made previous stops in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Texas and Washington.

If Gonzalez is known for one thing (other than being a solid LOOGY), it’s his odd pre-delivery motions. He works with (barely) a toe on the rubber and likes to rock back and forth before starting his delivery. Hips don’t lie:

Don’t worry, he shortens the delivery with runners on base.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. SecondHandStore says: December 28, 2012

    I just absolutely do not understand this move. The Brewers need a high leverage reliever, not a 40 IP LOOGY. In my estimation they have 1 high leverage reliever(Axford), 3 middle relievers(Henderson, Kinztler, and Gorzelanny), a ROOGY/Groundballer(Badenhop), and a LOOGY (Gonzalez). If indeed they go w/Henderson and Kintzler that is. The last spot goes to one of the starters(Peralta, Estrada, Rogers, or Narveson) that don’t make the cut, right? It can’t be Estrada or Peralta, so Rogers or Narveson. Well, I have to doubt it’s going to be Narveson, so Rogers? I can see Rogers as a high leverage reliever if he can transition to the pen, but who knows how his arm will hold up. They’re going to have to figure out what they’re going to do with Fautino De Los Santos since he doesn’t have any options left.

    • Bry Jones says: December 29, 2012

      One thing that stood out to me when I looked at the move was Gonzalez’s closing experience. He’s closed 56 games in his career, and that sure looks good on a resume! As does the 2.62 ERA in the NL. I guess what I’m saying is that if we have guys in the pen that can get guys out (like Badenhop, Gorzelanny, Gonzalez) especially without the huge price tag, I’d rather that than either a re-hash of last year’s guys and hope that the same guys have different results, or an overpriced big arm. I also would like to either see Fautino earn a spot or at least go to another team for a bench bat or a prospect. Go Crew!

  2. Brewerfanx1 says: December 28, 2012

    I’ve been wanting the Brewers to sign this guy since 2010, and so have the Brewers apparently. The Brewers now have their 2nd reliever, which is all they need. Now all that they have to do is figure out what to do with the excess of starting pitching that they have and who will make the rotation. I like Nicholas’s article on the rotation, and think it’s dead on except Narveson. I see Axford in the 9th, Henderson in the 8th, and Gonzalez/Gorzelanny/Thornburg splitting time in the 6th/7th inning. This bullpen just got very diverse and very flexible quick.

  3. MJD says: December 28, 2012

    I think this a pretty good signing. Gives them flexibility with Gorzelany if he is needed for a spot start or mop up duty. Gonzalez has closed before and could be a backup option to Axford if Ax pitches 3 days in a row. His career ERA is good, but he has mostly pitched in big ballparks. Going to need to keep the ball down in Miller Park. 1 year, no risk deal. I still believe they should look at Jon Rausch or Kyle Farnsworth for an 8th inning type guy. Henderson and Kintzler are unproven and one more power arm is imperative.

  4. Dan V says: December 28, 2012

    jesus sanchez had a killer year in the minors last year, but I just have this feeling you’ll see Olmstead win a spot out of spring training.

    • Josh says: December 29, 2012

      So this doesnt really add anything to the conversation but I read your first sentence as “Jesus, Sanchez had a killer year.”

  5. Garret says: December 29, 2012

    who gets moved off the 40 man roster?

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