FRIDAY: The Orioles have announced that Gonzalez has cleared waivers and has officially been released.
WEDNESDAY: The Orioles have placed righty Miguel Gonzalez on release waivers, according to Eduarco Encina of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Gonzalez, 31, had agreed to a $5.1MM arbitration salary for the coming season, and the club would remain obligated for about a quarter of that (45 days pay) if he isn’t claimed.
Gonzalez had been a mainstay in the Orioles rotation dating back to his MLB debut in 2012. From that point through 2014, he consistently produced excellent results — he carried a 3.45 ERA over 435 2/3 innings — but his peripherals always suggested a fall-off. That’s exactly what occurred last year, as Gonzalez produced a 4.91 ERA over 144 2/3 innings.
The Orioles could have elected to option Gonzalez, as Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com notes on Twitter. But he’s shown only an upper-80s fastball this spring, and that was reflected in the results. Over 19 1/3 innings, Gonzalez permitted 21 earned runs on a troubling 35 hits, and walked six while striking out only eight opposing hitters.
With Gonzalez leaving the picture, it remains unclear what Baltimore will do with the back of the rotation. Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson would appear to be options, and veteran swingman Vance Worley remains available as well. Parting with Gonzalez does, at least, seem to be an implicit vote of confidence in the health of Kevin Gausman, who may open the year with a brief DL stint but is expected to be back in action in short order.