Extension Candidate: Gio Gonzalez

Now that the Athletics and Trevor Cahill have reportedly agreed to a multiyear deal, young players like Daric Barton, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey could be next in line for extensions, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes previewed a Barton extension last month, so let's have a look at what it might take to lock up Gonzalez, another key member of the A's rotation.

AQA10081803_Blue Jays_at_AsAs I wrote last fall when I examined the possibility of a new contract for Cahill, Billy Beane and the A's have an extensive history of signing young pitchers to multiyear deals rather than going to arbitration. MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows that Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, and Brett Anderson all inked contracts for at least four years early in their careers. When dealing with their top arms, the A's appear to believe the opportunity to save a few million dollars by avoiding arb is worth the risk of injury or regression. With Anderson already locked up, and Cahill on the verge, Gonzalez might be next.

One could argue, based on his excellent 2010 campaign, that the Oakland southpaw belongs in the same discussion as Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Romero, who each signed five-year deals worth approximately $30MM. However, due to some struggles in his first two years with the A's (6.24 ERA in 132 2/3 IP), Gonzalez's career ratios, such as a 4.29 ERA and 4.7 BB/9, don't compare well to the numbers those pitchers had posted when they signed.

Of course, while Gonzalez's career stats give the A's some leverage in negotiations, time is not on the club's side. Off to a fast start in 2011, the 25-year-old seems only to be getting better, which means his value could continue to rise throughout the season if the A's wait on a deal. Additionally, Gonzalez is set to become a Super Two player, meaning 2012 will be the first of four, rather than three, arbitration years.

Gonzalez's career totals may slightly hurt his bottom line on a potential extension, but his recent performance will ensure he won't come cheap. Once the figures for Cahill's deal surface, we should get a better idea of what sort of dollar amount it would take to secure Gonzalez's arb seasons. If the ACES client stays healthy and continue to improve, he could eventually earn more than $25MM through arbitration, so I'd expect the A's to explore something in the neighborhood of $20MM for those four years.


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8 Comments on "Extension Candidate: Gio Gonzalez"


mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 4 months ago

Gio Gonzalez could be a poster child on why you better be careful before you give up on a pitcher. He passed through a few organizations, struggled at some point with all of them, and was probably written off by a lot of fans as well as baseball people.

Oh, and look at him now! He just needed to be in a place that believed he would be good and ride out the rough patches. If I’m the A’s I don’t know if I want to or even need to lock down more pitching. They have plenty of depth; if they don’t want to pay the freight, they can trade and/or promote someone else.

Although if they are going to extend another pitcher, I like Gonzalez a lot.

dylanp5030
4 years 4 months ago

Just because teams traded him, does not mean they gave up on him…

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 4 months ago

Possible. But it also means that they didn’t feel they had to keep him either.

4 years 4 months ago

This is one of my favorite young pitchers, hopefully he gets what his talents deserve.

4 years 4 months ago

Good job Kenny Williams. I know he’s made good moves it’s recently he’s made really bad ones.

woodmember
4 years 4 months ago

This is why I love this site. Great article!

Beauford
4 years 4 months ago

GG currently has two really good pitches (fastball and curveball) and needs to develop his changeup. Also, his K/9 has been decreasing. And while his BB/9 has also been dropping it’s still rather high at 4 BB per 9 innings.

It seems like developing that third pitch (which would also increase his SO’s) is key to his joining the elite group.

johnnycomelately9
4 years 4 months ago

The White Sox are dumb for trading him for Nick Swisher. Just because he’s the most underrated pitcher in the AL it doesn’t mean the White Sox thought he sucked… they just thought Nick Swisher was awesome, like some Yankee fans do.