2:07pm: Gonzalez will opt-out, tweets Andy Martino of SNY. The club has 48 hours to either grant him his release or add him to the active roster.
Friday, 2:47pm: Gonzalez does indeed intend to trigger the clause, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link), which means the Yankees will have to decide whether to add him to their roster. That appears to be unlikely, per Feinsand, suggesting that Gonzalez will probably head back onto the open market.
Friday, 12:16pm: Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez has hired CAA Baseball to represent him, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports (via Twitter). He’d previously been a client of the Boras Corporation. The change comes just before tomorrow’s opt-out date in Gonzalez’s minor league contract with the Yankees — a provision that he is giving strong consideration to exercising, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees recently got CC Sabathia back from the injured list and have received three solid outings from righty Domingo German, so there’s no guarantee they’ll bring Gonzalez to the Majors for a look.
Gonzalez’s contract comes with a $3MM base salary, but the greater consideration for the Yankees is surely the incentives structure to which he agreed. As one might expect for a veteran of his stature, Gonzalez’s non-guaranteed deal is packed with incentives — perhaps more so than any minors deal in recent memory. He’d reportedly be paid a hefty $300K per start with the Yankees at the MLB level, on top of that base rate of pay, making it a fairly expensive proposition to even take a look at him on a short-term, trial basis.
Thus far with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Gonzalez has had mixed results. He was shelled in the season opener for Scranton (eight runs in four innings), but he’s rebounded with a pair of excellent outings, yielding a combined two runs with an 18-to-2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.
The fact that he made 93 pitches in his most recent outing should signal to other clubs that he’s built up enough to the point that he could step directly onto a big league pitching staff if needed. Assuming he opts out, that type of opportunity would likely be the type he and his new representatives seek. Several teams that entered the year hoping to contend — Red Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Athletics — have seen their starters combine for an ERA of 4.50 or worse, so it stands to reason that there could be heightened interest in Gonzalez now, as compared to when he was a free agent over the winter and was unable to find a big league deal.
If Gonzalez does trigger his opt-out clause tomorrow, he won’t immediately become a free agent. The Yankees would have 48 hours to weigh whether it’s worth placing him on the big league roster or grant him his release. But with the rotation currently featuring James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, Sabathia and German (with other depth options on hand in the form of Chance Adams, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa), the team may simply prefer to let him go.