Could Gio Gonzalez be headed up I-95 to New York? Might the Dodgers land Cole Hamels to be their #2 behind Clayton Kershaw?
The Yankees are facing a dearth of left-handed pitching. New York’s pitching staff is a bunch of question marks with injuries afflicting pitchers up and down the rotation.
Ace C.C. Sabathia’s knee injury could be career-threatening. Michael Pineda has lingering shoulder issues, Ivan Nova is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and rookie All-Star Masahiro Tanaka tore his UCL in July, although he didn’t require surgery.
Earlier this offseason, it looked like Jordan Zimmermann might be the Nationals pitcher that would be moved. Not so fast.
Enter Washington Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a workhorse who’s been reliable and off the DL, averaging more than 190 innings the past five years. This kind of track record is just what the Bronx Bombers are looking for in a pitcher, and they’d likely be willing to part with some of their top-tier prospects to land a lefty who eats innings.
Sweeny Murti, a beat reporter for WFAN and who writers for CBS New York, has a great take on how well Gonzalez is a match for the Yankees:
“The Yankees need for another starting pitcher is obvious. I mentioned a couple weeks ago here how the Yankees have historically depended on left-handed pitching and left-handed power to win championships and were missing both at this point. And as I thought out loud I wondered about the availability of Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. A source told me the Nationals would likely discuss just about anyone on their roster if the deal was right.”
Murti is spot-on here: The Yankees will need quality left-handed pitching to neutralize lefty power hitters who could easily take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankees Stadium. Gonzalez only has two more guaranteed years on his contract worth $11 million in 2015 and $12 million in 2016, with a $12 million club option in 2017 and a $12 million vesting option in 2018. This a relatively team-friendly contract, so it would probably take a bundle of top-tier prospects to pry Gonzalez away from Washington.
The Nationals need offense, especially offense that can perform in the playoffs. Coming off a 96-win regular season, last year’s Nationals scored just 9 runs in 4 games against the Giants in the NLDS. In the 2012 NLDS, the Nationals scored 16 runs in 5 games.
A potential haul for Gonzalez could be headlined by 22-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge, currently ranked the #5 prospect in the Yankees system. After 2015, Nationals center-fielder Denard Span will be a free agent. Judge, known for his powerful bat, triple-slashed .308/.419/.486 in the minors in 2014, and could be slotted into the Nationals outfield a year from now.
Next page: Phillies want three top prospects for Hamels. Could Dodgers oblige?