March 18: The Twins announced that Gonzalez has been signed to a minor league pact and invited to Spring Training.
Minnesota GM Thad Levine was working as an assistant general manager with the Rangers when Texas selected Gonzalez with the 23rd overall pick of the 2013 draft, so that past connection could explain the Twins’ current interest in the 30-year-old. Gonzalez spent his first two big league seasons with the Rangers in 2015-16 before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the entirety of the 2017-18 campaigns.
Resurfacing in Denver, Gonzalez has spent the last three seasons with the Rockies, though the team non-tendered him last week. Gonzalez posted a 6.10 ERA over his 184 1/3 innings in a Colorado uniform, and his low-grounder, low-strikeout repertoire didn’t mesh well with the thin air of Coors Field. While Gonzalez’s wasn’t particularly effective in road games either, opposing batters hit .304/.369/.511 over 410 plate appearances against the righty at Coors Field.
The Twins are in need of starting pitching depth, so a minors deal with Gonzalez would bring some MLB experience into camp. Even with Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy acquired this winter, Minnesota still projects to have a young starting rotation, so adding Gonzalez even as depth provides some backup should the newer arms not yet be ready.