33-year-old southpaw Mike Gonzalez may be the best available reliever, and he's got the Boras Corporation on his side. However, with pitchers and catchers due to report in a week, financial resources and roster spots are limited for most teams. Here are some potential fits for Gonzalez, who posted a 4.39 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, and 40.9% groundball rate for the Orioles and Rangers in 2011.
- Earlier this month, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the Rangers are still in on Gonzalez, for whom they could find money by trading Koji Uehara. As of January, Michael Kirkman and Martin Perez were the Rangers' top candidates to fill a lefty relief role, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Since then, the team added Joe Beimel and Mitch Stetter on minor league deals.
- The Yankees are going with Boone Logan as their primary lefty, with Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral also needing a 25-man roster spot if he is to be retained. Hideki Okajima and Michael O'Connor will be in camp on minor league deals.
- Assuming Travis Wood makes the Cubs' rotation, they'll have Jeff Beliveau, John Gaub, Scott Maine, James Russell, and Trever Miller looking to fill the lefty reliever void created by the Sean Marshall trade. The Cubs had to sacrifice Blake DeWitt to find a 40-man roster spot for Adrian Cardenas, however, and someone else would have to go if Gonzalez were to sign a Major League deal.
- The Astros have lefty relievers, but they could represent Gonzalez's best chance to return to closing if he'll accept a meager salary. The team's pen is unsettled after the Mark Melancon trade.
- The Brewers will have Zach Braddock and Manny Parra vying for a lefty reliever job, with non-roster invitees Juan Perez and Daniel Meadows also in the discussion. The team might not have a few million in the budget for Gonzalez, but they've got a $375K swing assuming they go to an arbitration hearing with reliever Jose Veras.
- The Dodgers have Scott Elbert as their main lefty reliever, with names such as Michael Antonini, John Grabow, Wil Ledezma, and Alberto Castillo trying to grab another spot. Finding a roster opening could be the biggest stumbling block.
- Lefties Josh Spence and Joe Thatcher are penciled into the Padres' bullpen, but Gonzalez would make a nice addition for the Padres behind Huston Street.