21 Dec 2011
Over on his GM blog (subscription required) Jim Bowden has five trades for Gio Gonzalez. For the Yankees he has Betances, Phelps and Romine going over to Oakland. I would make that deal in a second.
There are three things you have to worry about with Gonzalez. The first is his walk totals. Now many of the reports I have seen say that he walks a lot of guys because he is afraid to give in and fall behind with the A’s anemic offense. Believe that at your own peril.
The second thing to worry about is his home and road splits. Oakland is a pitcher’s park and not surprisingly, Gonzalez’s ERA is almost a run better there than on the road. He gives up more flyballs than groundballs, so pitching in smaller parks could hurt him. Being a lefty, you would think he could neutralize left-handed batters, but they have actually hit him harder than righties in his career.
Finally, his career ERA vs. Boston is almost a six and against the Yankees it is over 7. He is clearly struggling when facing the best lineups in the league.
So with those three concerns, why would I make this trade? For two reasons. First and foremost, he is a young lefthander with very good stuff. Put him on the Yankees and he doesn’t have to be an ace, he just needs to pitch effectively. Even with the concerns I outlined above, I think he would do that.
Second, think about the pieces the Yankees would give up in this deal. They still have Montero and they still have Banuelos. Sure losing Romine hurts, but I don’t know if he will hit enough in the bigs and don’t forget that Gary Sanchez is still in the system. If the Yankees lock down Martin for a couple of years, they won’t need Romine. I think Phelps could develop into a competent back of the rotation guy, I just don’t see the Yankees giving him the chance. The have Noesi and Warren at that same level, so will Phelps even get a chance? And Betances certainly could develop into a stud pitcher, but you have to give to get and of the trio of Betances, Banuelos and Montero, he is the one I am more comfortable giving up.