REPORT: Brewers Leading the Way on Free Agent Lefty Gio Gonzalez, Who Could Sign As Soon As Today (UPDATE: Yup ... It's Happening)

Social Navigation

REPORT: Brewers Leading the Way on Free Agent Lefty Gio Gonzalez, Who Could Sign As Soon As Today (UPDATE: Yup … It’s Happening)

Chicago Cubs

Last season, the NL Central winning Milwaukee Brewers dethroned the Chicago Cubs in spite of their starting rotation and not because of it. And by the end of the year, their combined 8.9 WAR ranked squarely in the bottom half of the leauge. But that’s not to say there weren’t nice, individual performances.

For example, on the eve of the September 1st deadline for traded players to remain eligible for the postseason, the Brewers grabbed left-hander Gio Gonzalez from the fading Washington Nationals. After a terrible first 27 starts in Washington (4.57 ERA, 4.25 FIP), Gonzalez came into Milwaukee and twirled a dazzling 2.13 ERA over five starts down the stretch. The peripherals weren’t quite as good as the results, but he was solid for them in his short time there.

And then he left the team via free agency, before signing a Minor League contract with the Yankees over the offseason.

Unfortunately for Gonzalez, the Yankees didn’t like what they saw out of him through his first three Minor League starts, so he was released from his contract (it was slightly more mutual than that, as he actually exercised an opt-out after being told he was not making the 25-man roster) a couple days, once again free to sign with any team. Yesterday, Mark Feinsand reported that Gonzalez was “sorting through multiple offers,” noting, however, that nothing was imminent.

But today, Ken Rosenthal has more to add to the story, which could directly impact the Cubs:

The Brewers rotation is once again going through a dry spell (5.74 ERA, 0.3 WAR, both of which are among the bottom 5 in MLB) and could use some reinforcements.

Gio Gonzalez, then, offers a familiar, low-cost option to bolster that group. Of course, how good he’ll actually be is a lot tougher to say. It’s easy to imagine why both sides would want to re-unite – he was legitimately pretty good in a short stint there – but it’s more difficult to imagine him repeating that success at all, let alone over the course of a full year. His five starts (and handful of postseason innings) represent such a small sample of work and the broader, downward trend has been much more apparent.

Even still, this is about as low-risk a move as the Brewers could make and it’s one I won’t be surprised to see go down, if/when it does. For what it’s worth, the Mets have also been a noted participant in these sweepstakes – and, as Feinsand says, Gonzalez may already have multiple offers – but it seems like Milwaukee is leading the way for now. If and when this goes down, we’ll dig deeper, but I just wanted you to know.

UPDATE: And just before I clicked publish, we got additional information about the Brewers and potential timing on a deal:

UPDATE II: Man this story moved fast.

Also, good for Gonzalez!

After getting nothing but a Minor League offer from the Yankees all offseason, Gonzalez got blown up in his first Triple-A start (8 ER over 4.0 IP), but was somehow able to turn the next 11.0 IP into a $2M big-league deal with another $2M in performance bonuses. And it’s not even pro-rated!

As Rosenthal points out, Gonzalez may have chosen the Brewers over the Mets, because he’ll likely be used as a starter in Milwaukee, but might’ve been a reliever in New York.

So far this season, the Brewers have used seven total starters, with the bulk of the opportunities going to Zach Davies, Brandon Woodruff, and Jhoulys Chacin (5 starts each), plus Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta (4 starts each).

Peralta, however, recently hit the 10-Day IL with a shoulder injury. As recently as two days ago, word was that he would be returning relatively soon (he threw a light bullpen session on Monday), but even with him in the fold, the Brewers rotation probably needed some help. And now they’ve got it. Well, maybe. I still don’t know if Gonzalez will be any good.

Latest from Bleacher Nation:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami