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Soon-to-be Gone Gonzalez and Minor League Dealings

November 6, 2011

In his weekly Boston Globe column, their writer Nick Cafardo tackles Gio Gonzalez in his updates section on nine players around MLB. Of the A’s southpaw and 2011 ace he writes,

“He remains a viable trade option for many teams, including the Red Sox. Gonzalez, 26, went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA last season after winning 15 games the year before. The Miami-area native will be of major interest to the soon-to-be Miami Marlins. The perpetually emerging A’s probably aren’t ready to contend. They appear to be buying time until they can build a new stadium in the San Jose area. Until then, they may be in the mode of developing good players and trading them off for players who might emerge two or three years from now.”

I think Gio is a great pitcher with a lot of upside. Furthermore I think that if the A’s do have a stadium remedy in the near future, Gio is someone who could be locked up to be a veteran ace by the time a new stadium in San Jose opens. However, I also would not be surprised if he is dealt and it seems the rumblings to the Marlins have gained steam and may hold some validity since they first were aired (as seeming fluff ESPN nonsense by Jason Churchill). The Marlins system has produced a lot of talent throughout their history and while I am unfamiliar with who they have manning the fields in New Orleans, Jacksonville, Jupiter, Greensboro or Jamestown it would need to be a hefty price-tag in order to pry the relatively affordable (he does go through arbitration this offseason) Gonzalez. I am not opposed to trading him as I wrote when Ken Rosenthal said Jemile Weeks was untouchable, no one should be and everyone should be available at a certain price. However, like Weeks, the price for Gonzalez had better be high, I see him as a much more valuable commodity than Weeks is. To me the last part of that post is most alarming, of Oakland turning into this sort of baseball purgatory (though one may argue we already are at that point now…).

While there are players like Gio who could be on their way out, there are also players who are. Last week Major League Baseball granted free agency to 537 minor league players and Baseball America printed the full list on Friday. A player is made a free agent if they meet one of these two conditions: the team he initially signed with has used up their six automatic contract renewals (yet he remains off the 40-man roster) or; a minor-league contract a player signed has expired. Simple stuff. The A’s had twelve such players and they are: RHP Jason Bergmann, RHP Fernando Cabrera, C Mitch Canham, RHP Vinnie Chulk, RHP Scott Deal, LHP Lenny DiNardo, RHP Gabe DeHoyos, 3B Adam Heether, LHP Brad Kilby, RHP Jared Lansford, RHP Jamie Richmond and LHP Polin Trinidad. None of these players hold significant value to the A’s and while some may be re-signed as Triple-A filler type material there are no serious losses though I had been impressed with Cabrera in the spring and he did post impressive numbers in Sacramento: 3.36 FIP with 10.4 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 over 63 innings in 53 appearances. Kilby meanwhile – who got off to a very exciting start to his career in 2009 when in 11 games (one start) he pitched 17 innings of 10.6 K/9, 0.53 ERA and 2.21 FIP ball – did not throw a single pitch in 2011 having failed to recover from back-to-back shoulder injuries.

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