Results tagged ‘ Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez ’
He allowed two hits, one run, walked four and struck out two in 1 2/3 innings yesterday in his Phillies and Grapefruit League debuts against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. His fastball hit 93 or 94 mph once, depending on the radar gun, but otherwise sat in the 89-91 mph range. He showed some quality offspeed pitches, particularly his breaking ball, but couldn’t command his fastball.
It was his first time pitching in a game in two years.
“He was rusty and he wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said this morning at Bright House Field. “But I think stuff-wise it was encouraging. He probably threw better with his stuff as far as his velocity and breaking ball since he’s been in camp. It’s a process. We’ve got to let him develop from there. But I was encouraged by his poise. I was encouraged that his stuff was better than it had been in his sides. And hopefully it will continue to progress in a positive way.”
Scouting reports before Gonzalez signed said he threw in the mid-90s.
So where is the heat?
“I think he’s still building it, just like all these other guys,” Amaro said. “It just takes time for guys to build arm strength. I’m not as concerned about the velocity as I am the command and making sure his stuff is consistent. It’ll build.”
Amaro said Gonzalez had some tightness in his arm earlier in the spring, but said Saturday it was not an issue.
“There have been no issues with him thus far,” Amaro said.
If there is a Man of Mystery in Phillies camp, a Mr. X, an unknown, it is Miguel Gonzalez.
The right-hander defected from Cuba last year before he agreed in July to a $48 million deal with the Phillies. But something happened during his physical and the parties ultimately agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract. He seemed to be destined for a top spot in the Phillies rotation, but the Phillies have lowered expectations for him because they said nobody really knows what kind of pitcher he might be.
Factor in the imminent arrival of A.J. Burnett and he could open the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“I’ve got more to prove to myself than anyone else,” Gonzalez said of his Mystery Man status. “Once I prove it to myself, everyone else will be able to see it clearly.”
Gonzalez said he started throwing bullpens Jan. 6 and feels 100 percent healthy.
“There is more speed, more movement,” he said. “I can tell I’ve progressed.”
Cole Hamels is expected to open the season on the disabled list, but he could be back before the end of April. Once he is healthy, Hamels, Cliff Lee, Burnett and Kyle Kendrick will take the top four spots in the rotation. The Phillies signed Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5 million contract in December. He is the heavy favorite for the No. 5 spot because Gonzalez, Jonathan Pettibone and others in camp have options.
“Those are decisions that are out of my control,” said Gonzalez, asked if he sees himself in the rotation come Opening Day. “I’m going to do my best to do that, but that (decision) is out of my hands.”
He said he would pitch in the bullpen, if needed, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said he is best suited pitching regularly in a rotation.
But this afternoon the Phillies announced they had signed Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a three-year, $12 million contract. The deal includes a vesting/club option for 2017, plus signing and performance bonuses. If you remember, the Phillies and Gonzalez agreed July 27 to a six-year, $48 million deal with an $11 million option for 2019. But MLB.com reported Aug. 6 the deal hit a snag and could be in jeopardy.
It is believed the Phillies had some concerns about his health following his physical. Gonzalez had bone spurs removed from his right elbow relatively recently.
That is the only reason to explain why the deal dropped from $48 million to $12 million.
But if Gonzalez is healthy and is as good as scouts think he is, he should help the 2014 rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Miguel,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “He is someone our scouts have followed for several years and in our most recent observations of him he showed tremendous stuff. We are hopeful he will pitch out of our starting rotation for 2014 and beyond.”
Gonzalez will report to the Phillies’ Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, left-hander John Lannan has been moved to the 60-day disabled list.
In fact, an announcement might never happen.
A source indicated to MLB.com tonight the two parties had hit a snag since word quickly spread July 26 the parties had agreed to a six-year, $48 million contract that included an $11 million option for 2019.
The Phillies have said nothing about Gonzalez since the story broke, not even as much as acknowledging anything might be cooking with the Cuban. Asked just before tonight’s game against the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park if a deal with Gonzalez might no longer happen, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. repeatedly declined comment.
Since the agreement late last month numerous reports have mentioned scouts with questions about Gonzalez’s elbow. He had bone spurs removed from his elbow sometime within the past two years, although it has been written he had made a full recovery.
Scouts that have seen him pitch recently consider him a No. 3 starter in the big leagues, which would have helped the Phillies entering 2014.
Late last month, Ruben Amaro Jr. sat in the visitors dugout at Dodger Stadium and answered a few questions about the Phillies’ interest in Yasiel Puig.
He said they took a look and had some interesting conversations with his people, but in the end the Dodgers took a “huge risk” and signed him to a $42 million contract.
“It paid off, so far,” Amaro said.
It turns out $42 million is nothing. A source told MLB.com last night the Phillies have agreed to terms with Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six-year, $48 million deal, which includes an $11 million option in 2019. Yep, that’s more than Puig got from the Dodgers. It is also more than the A’s gave outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and the Cubs gave outfielder Jorge Soler, who signed a nine-year, $30 million contract.
It’s a considerable risk. The Phillies have never paid an international player more than $1.2 million, and that happened in 2001 with South Korean right-hander Seung Lee. He proved to be an enormous bust, and just from being around the team since 2003 I always got the feeling Lee’s failures (as well as the failures of South Korean right-hander Il Kim, who got $800,000 from the Phillies in 2001 and also bombed) made the Phillies reluctant to go big on international players.
This is a sign the Phillies don’t plan to go into a true “rebuilding” phase or “blow up” the roster and start from scratch, even if they sell a couple pieces before Wednesday’s trade deadline. They still plan to spend money to help them win next season and beyond. That might be what Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and other potential free agents need to see as they consider their options for the future.
But there certainly is plenty riding on this. The Phillies have not had a great run recently with personnel decisions. No team is perfect, but this is a results business and talent evaluations big and small haven’t worked out particularly well: the talent acquired from Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade, releasing Jason Grilli, letting Nate Shierholtz walk, choosing John Bowker over Brandon Moss, Chad Qualls, Danys Baez, betting Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. could be everyday outfielders, not developing a player in the minors that can help them more than Michael Martinez or an outfielder that would be better than carrying three catchers out of the All-Star break, etc. They certainly have had some successes, but the team is on its way to missing the postseason for the second consecutive year. Now would be a great time for Amaro’s scouts to hit big.
“You hope those things work out,” Amaro said last month. “Hideki Irabu didn’t work out. [Jose] Contreras worked out on certain levels. [Rey] Ordonez. Dice-K [Daisuke Matsuzaka]. It’s a risk.”
Which way will Gonzalez fall? It will be fascinating to find out.