The busy offseason continued for the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon, as they added veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez on a one-year contract. The deal was first reported by Robert Murray and later confirmed by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
The White Sox originally drafted Gonzalez back in 2004. He was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jim Thome, then traded back to Chicago for Freddy Garcia in 2006. Gonzalez was once again traded in 2008, this time to the Oakland Athletics for Nick Swisher. Luckily for Gonzalez, however, it was in Oakland where he began to establish himself as a valuable big-league starter. He made his first All-Star team in 2011, going an impressive 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA.
Gonzalez was traded once more the following offseason, this time to the Washington Nationals. His 2012 campaign with the Nationals was the best season of his big-league career. Gonzalez finished with a 21-8 record and a 2.89 ERA across 32 starts. He finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting that year.
His numbers have dipped but only ever so slightly over the last few years, but his durability certainly has not. From 2010-2018 he never made fewer than 27 starts, which is the number of starts he has averaged per year through his 12-year big-league career.
His 2019 season was the exception to the rule, as Gonzalez made just 17 starts with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he finished with a 3-2 record and a 3.50 ERA.
Gonzalez will now head back to the American League for the first time since his impressive 2011 season with the A’s. He will likely find himself in the middle of an extremely young but also extremely promising White Sox starting rotation. Gonzalez will join Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, and Dylan Covey in the team’s starting rotation, providing some much-needed stability.
Another positive for Gonzalez is that he will be reunited with Yasmani Grandal, whom the White Sox signed to a four-year contract earlier this offseason. Gonzalez and Grandal had good cohesion in their time with the Brewers, and that familiarity will help ease Gonzalez in with his new team in 2020.
The White Sox needed someone like Gonzalez to help solidify their starting rotation and provide a veteran presence that can be relied upon over an entire season. The team is likely to pursue more pitching help as the offseason continues, perhaps even targeting Hyun-Jin Ryu or Dallas Keuchel,
Nevertheless, the White Sox are poised to take a big step forward in 2020. The retention of Jose Abreu, along with the acquisitions of Grandal, Nomar Mazara, and now Gonzalez, have fortified Chicago’s roster, as they look to establish themselves as the top team in the AL Central.