While his price tag might not be cheap, Oakland’s young leftyGio Gonzalez figures to be a popular trade option for many teams in search for starting pitching. The Miami Marlins expressed interest in Gonzalez earlier this month, but Oakland’s asking price for Gonzalez, who went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA this year, was a bit too much for the Marlins.
According to a recent piece on NESN.com, writer Mike Cole notes that the Boston Red Sox think very highly of Oakland’s All-Star and could potentially express an interest in acquiring the southpaw at some point. ESPN.com writer Gordon Edes also notes that Gonzalez is definitely on Boston’s radar. The asking price for Gonzalez, however, could potential scare off the Red Sox.
Boston may have an interest in the young All-Star Gonzalez, but Oakland’s asking price isn’t exactly easy to meet. The A’s are extremely high on Gonzalez’s stuff, so it’s not exactly surprising that they’re looking for a nice haul of young prospects in return for their ace.
Oakland is reportedly looking for yet another Dan Haren type deal, as the team truly sees Gonzalez as an ace. The young lefty has shown a tremendous amount of growth and maturation over these past two seasons or so, going 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA over the last two years with Oakland.
His first few seasons with the green-and-gold, however, were filled with tough learning curves. From 2008-09, Gonzalez battled his emotions on the mound and struggled as he went 7-11 with a 6.24 ERA during that time span. Since then, however, Gonzalez has kept his emotions in check and has found success on the mound as a result.
He posted the 8th best WAR (Wins Above Replacement) among AL pitchers with a 5.0 WAR. His 3.12 ERA this year was 10th best among AL pitchers and was 4th in wins. Gonzalez was also very durable for another season for Oakland, logging 202.0 innings of work this year.
Gonzalez also increased his K/9 rate this year, improving upon 2010′s 7.67 K/9 by posting a 8.78 K/9 rate this season. The only thing you can really count against Gonzalez are the free passes he sometimes offers hitters.
He did cut back on his walks this year, but Gonzalez still led AL pitchers with a total of 91 free passes. He posted a 4.13 BB/9 during the 2010 season, but that number went was a little better this season as Gonzalez brought it down to a 4.05 BB/9. Still, his walks remain his biggest problems going forward.
If he can, however, continue to cut back on those free passes, he should continue as one of the league’s best young pitchers. He hasn’t let the walks affect him yet, but cutting back on the walks will definitely be atop Gonzalez’s goals for 2012.
At 26, Gonzalez should look like an excellent option for any team searching for starting pitching. There’s no questioning this guy’s talent. The only problem lies within Oakland’s asking price for their prized southpaw.