Yankees: Gio Gonzalez’s opt-out deadline is here
When the Yankees signed Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal towards the end of Spring Training part of his contract included an opt-out clause for April 20th. Gonzalez is set to make his fourth start of the season tonight for Triple-A Scranton but on Saturday he’ll have a big decision to make.
After it became clear that both CC Sabathia and Luis Severino were going to start the season on the IL the Yankees signed Gonzalez to give them some more starting pitching depth. The veteran southpaw started the season with the Railriders to work his way back into shape after the late start to his spring and so far he’s 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 19 IP.
Gonzalez’s first start with Scranton was one to forget after he gave up eight runs on eight hits in only four innings of work. However, he gets a pass for that performance considering it was his first start and he needed to shake off some rust. Since then he’s been much better and over his last two starts, he’s combined for 18 strikeouts over 11 innings pitched, allowing only two runs.
It’s no surprise that Gonzalez has bounced back after the rough first outing because clearly he’s a major league caliber starting pitcher and belongs on someone’s 25-man roster. However, there might not be a spot for him on the Yankees roster because right now they have a set five-man rotation that’s pretty solid.
Now with CC back healthy and in the fold the only guy Gonzalez could potentially replace on the starting staff is Domingo German. The problem for him is that that’s probably not going to happen because German has been one of the Yankees top starters in the early going. In three starts and four appearances, he’s been excellent with a 3-1 record, 2.37 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 23 K’s in 19 IP. He had another quality start Thursday night pitching six innings of three-run ball with nine strikeouts during the Yanks 6-1 loss to the Royals.
German has always had the stuff to be a successful big league starter and based on how he’s started the season he deserves to stay in the rotation moving forward. Had he gotten off to a slow start it would’ve been easy to send him back to Triple-A to clear up a spot for Gonzalez but there’s no way I see that happening right now.
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As solid as Gonzalez is and has been over the past decade he doesn’t have the upside German does so the Yankees need to keep sending him out there every fifth day. With Luis Severino still another couple months away from a possible return the Yankees need to find out what they have in German. The question now is whether Gonzalez is willing to ride things out at Scranton and wait until there’s a potential need for him to fill a rotation spot with the big club.
There’s a chance he and the Yanks could agree to push back the deadline on that opt-out clause. Although if he has the option to opt out and sign on with another club that has an opening in their rotation than that’s probably the direction he will go in.
It will be interesting to see how his start tonight plays out because the results could have a big impact on the decision he’ll have to make on Saturday.