Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez has moved to the Boras Corporation, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. Gonzalez joins a host of other high-profile Nationals players with the organization of agent Scott Boras, as Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post tweets.
While the 29-year-old lefty has now surpassed six years of service, he won’t be hitting free agency any time soon. Gonzalez has one guaranteed season left (for $12MM) on the extension he signed shortly after coming to D.C. The team holds $12MM options for 2017 and 2018. The former comes with a $500K buyout, while the latter would vest if Gonzalez throws 180 innings in the preceding campaign. That contract, negotiated by his former reps, set a new high water mark for first-time arb-eligible pitchers.
While Gonzalez owns an earned run average of more than four per nine for the first time since way back in 2009, he’s been much the same pitcher over his four campaigns with the Nats. Though his ERA has risen in each successive season, he’s worked between a 3.56 and a 3.79 SIERA in every season of that span, averaging 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9.
While Gonzalez’s strikeouts are very slightly down this year (8.2 per nine), his swinging strike rate remains steady and he has put up a career-best 54.1% groundball rate. He has also largely maintained his average fastball velocity. Gonzalez’s innings tallies are down somewhat — he missed some starts last year and currently sits at 135 2/3 frames, after consistently hitting at or near 200 innings per season between 2010 and 2013 — but all said he still looks like a high-quality rotation piece going forward.
Gonzalez could hit the open market before his age-31 season if the first option is declined, though that seems unlikely barring a particularly rough 2016.