Oakland Athletics Rumors: A’s Interested in Starting Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez

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Mar 18, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) pitches against the New York Yankees during the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Orioles defeat the Yankees 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) pitches against the New York Yankees during the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Orioles defeat the Yankees 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland Athletics are rumored to be pursuing now free agent starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who was released from the Baltimore Orioles this spring

The Oakland Athletics’ starting pitching depth is quite shallow. The only two starters waiting in the wings are Jesse Hahn, who had a horrible spring, and top prospect Sean Manaea, who has yet to make his major league debut. So, it is not surprising that there are rumors surrounding the A’s and a free agent starting pitcher.

On Friday afternoon, MLB reporter Chris Cotillo from SB Nation and MLB Daily Dish tweeted that starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who was released by the Baltimore Orioles, is being pursued by numerous teams including the Athletics.

Gonzalez was released by Baltimore on Wednesday and placed on waivers. After the 48-hour waiver period, he was granted his unconditional release. So, as of Friday, Gonzalez became a free agent.

Gonzalez made his Major League debut in 2012 with the Orioles. The first three years of his career in Baltimore went relatively well. Over those years, his production was respectable for his ERA stayed in the mid-3.00s and he had a cumulative 30-21 record.

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However, last season, Gonzalez’s ERA shot up to 4.91 and had a career-worst WHIP of 1.40. Then, during spring camp this year, Gonzalez failed to show that same success he demonstrated in 2012-2014. He made six starts this March, ending spring training with a 1-4 record, a 9.78 ERA and 2.12 WHIP over 19.1 innings pitched. Because of his lack of success in 2015 and during spring training this year, Baltimore decided to release Gonzalez.

It is clear why the A’s are interested in Gonzalez despite his numbers. Oakland seriously lacks starting pitching depth. And, with three of the five current starters incurring injuries last season along with the uncertainty of how successful Rich Hill will be, the Athletics need as much starting pitching backup as they can get.

Even though the Oakland may need an extra arm for the rotation, I think their price point for adding an additional starter will be low since they do still have some internal options from which they can choose. First, there is Manaea. He may be only a prospect now, but it is pretty clear that Manaea will make his MLB debut this year. Additionally, there is no time table as to when Hahn will get his mojo back. It could be in two months, or it could be in two weeks. Lastly, former All Star Henderson Alvarez, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, is said to be ready to pitch by May and is expected to be the No. 2 starter when he returns.

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So, the Oakland Athletics are not in desperate need for another starter, but it would be nice to have additional depth at least for the first month or two of the season. If they can get Gonzalez for cheap, then they may go for it. Otherwise, I would expect the A’s utilize one of their internal options or add a long reliever, who could make some spot starts, to the bullpen instead of signing another starter since this would likely be less expensive.

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