With an eye towards October, the New York Yankees have decided to add that one missing piece: a project pitcher with a 6.00+ ERA who was considered a first-round talent back in 2013!
All kidding aside, the Yankees took a strangely predictable chance on a starting pitcher with top pick pedigree who’s been unable to harness his stuff at the big-league level during his six-year career. So predictable, in fact, that one fan called the move as soon as the Tigers released Chi Chi González and placed him back into the pool, eligible to be claimed by his fourth team of 2022.
Enter Matt Blake? More like “Enter Blake’s Underlings,” as it’s unlikely González will get a chance to rendezvous with the Yankees’ head honcho before the minor-league season ends in a few weeks.
If the Yankees want to give him a few weeks in the incubator to see how he cooks, no harm, no foul.
But if they actually intend to add him to the 40-man and use him (even over, say, Luke Bard or Deivi Garcia), that’s yet another indictment of how cleared-out the upper minors are now after the Ken Waldichuk/Hayden Wesneski/JP Sears deals.
Yankees sign Chi Chi González to minor-league deal
González was once the Texas Rangers’ first-round pick out of Oral Roberts all the way back in 2013, and cracked their big-league roster two years later with a throwback rookie season. Pitching to contact while only whiffing 30 men in 67 innings, González was still effective, posting a 3.90 ERA while only allowing 49 hits in 67 innings.
Predictably, his FIP was an inflated 4.97; metrics don’t trust guys like González and, in this case, they were right. Since then, he hasn’t posted an ERA under 5.29 in a full season, and found himself making two starts with the Twins, four appearances with the Brewers, and five Triple-A appearances with the Toledo Mud Hens in the Tigers’ system this season before landing with the Yankees on Tuesday.
What does González bring to the Yankees’ lab? A four-pitch mix featuring a (drumroll, please) changeup, which he throws 16.2% of the time. The righty has also experimented in limited duty with a curve and cutter, pitches he’s thrown three combined times across the 2022 season. Maybe Blake saw something he liked there, too?
Odds are González becomes Triple-A depth for a few short weeks while the campaign chugs to a close. That makes the timing all the more curious. If the Yankees aren’t even really going to get a look at González, why not push the pursuit to the offseason?
To give fans another disappointing dangling carrot to chase as the AL East lead perspires and wilts?