Mike Gonzalez, Proven Closer

First off, I’d like to mention that 3 games is nothing and that our conceptions of Mike Gonzalez’s talent shouldn’t really change. That said, Gonzalez has pitched 2 innings in three games and has given up 4 runs. He’s walked 4. Two blown saves. Andy MacPhail gave Gonzalez a 2 year, $12 M contract* (plus incentives!) because he thought the team needed a Proven Closer (I assume). And yet, if they had given Alberto Castillo his roster spot and let Jim Johnson close, the team’s record would probably be at least 2-2 and maybe 3-1. If the team thinks that Gonzalez is the team’s best pitcher in the bullpen, then he should continue getting the 9th inning chances in one-run games (or tie games, for that matter). If, on the other hand, they think he’s off for some reason – maybe injury (his velocity is down over a mph after steady years at 92-93, in addition to the control issues) – then they should either put him on the DL to get healthy or move him down in the bullpen depth chart until he gets right. I’m not a scout, but he’s looked bad to me – irrespective of his terrible results. To let him continue to lose games (if their projections for his performance are indeed different) just because of his salary is the kind of thinking that screwed the franchise up for so many years. The money is a sunk cost – it’s about maximizing the team’s chances to win at this point.

* And they gave up a second round pick!