O’s Appear Close to Deal With Reliever Mike Gonzalez

Note: Mike Gonzalez was signed yesterday evening by the Orioles. According to the Baltimore Sun, the reliever will earn $12 million over two years with escalator and incentive clauses allowing him to make an additional $4 million.


For those wishing the Orioles would do more on the free agent market to keep up in the AL East, it looks like they are closing in on a deal to acquire reliever Mike Gonzalez. Although Gonzalez has one of the craziest deliveries I have ever seen on the mound, the man’s results for the past few seasons speak for itself.

As much complaining as we’ve done as fans for the past few years, it looks like Baltimore is being proactive for 2010 and trying to fix the problem areas.

If the Orioles do nail Gonzalez, it’s a risk worth taking to solidify a part of their staff which was decent when Sherrill was around, and then drove off a cliff. One can assume that Jim Johnson will return to being the setup man and Gonzalez will close.

According to Roch’s blog, Gonzalez’s deal will be a two-year one.

From the Baltimore Sun: Looking to solidify the back end of their bullpen, the Orioles are nearing an agreement on a two-year deal with free agent left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez, according to industry sources.

Terms of the contract are not known at this point, but Gonzalez — who spent last season with the Atlanta Braves — will have to pass a physical before the deal is complete. He’s scheduled to take a physical in Baltimore within the next couple of days. The signing of Gonzalez, who is a Type A free agent, will cost the Orioles their second-round pick in the 2010 draft.

It’s also unclear if the Orioles view Gonzalez as their full-time closer or whether he’ll be part of a closer-by-committee approach that includes right-handed relievers Jim Johnson and Koji Uehara.

Gonzalez, 31, was 5-4 with a 2.42 ERA, 17 holds and 10 saves in 80 appearances for the Braves last year. For much of the season, he served as a setup man for Rafael Soriano. He struck out 90 batters in 74 1/3 innings and opponents hit just .209 against him.

His best season came with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 when Gonzalez converted all 24 of his save opportunities and had a 2.17 ERA in 54 appearances.

Gonzalez has a sub-3.00 ERA in five of the past six seasons and a 2.57 ERA over his career, which spans part of seven big-league campaigns.

Again, a good move by the Orioles — if it happens — but MORE still needs to be done. Keep at it, Andy…