The Pittsburgh Pirates need starting pitching, and the Seattle Mariners could look to trade veteran left-handed starter Marco Gonzales, who would be a great fit for the Bucs
The Pittsburgh Pirates need starting pitching, and the Seattle Mariners have an overabundance of arms. The match seems perfect. Of the multiple arms the Mariners may look to trade, veteran lefty Marco Gonzales will likely be on the block. Given that he only has two years of control remaining, and the Ms may want to open more opportunities for their young guns, Gonzales would be a good pitcher for the Pirates to go after.
2023 was a forgettable year for Gonzales. He only pitched 50 innings, working to a 5.22 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 1.46 WHIP. His 8.4% walk rate was his highest single-season rate since 2015 and didn’t throw a single pitch after the end of May. Gonzales underwent nerve surgery in mid-August in his forearm, eliminating him from the rest of the season.
Now granted, these numbers aren’t good, but some context is needed. Gonzales didn’t pitch horribly overall. One bad start inflated all his numbers. In his third to last start of the season, Gonzales allowed eight earned runs in just 1.2 innings, allowing a home run and two walks. Gonzales has a 3.91 ERA, 3.86 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP in 48.1 innings outside of this outing.
When Gonzales is healthy, he’s consistently been a very solid starting pitcher who gives a lot of volume. From 2018 through 2022, Gonzales pitched to a 3.91 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP. He only struck out 17.7% of the batters he faced with a so-so 1.26 HR/9, but offset that by only walking 5.9% of opponents while holding them to an exit velocity of 87.8 MPH. Among the 75 pitchers with 500+ frames, he had the 20th-best exit velocity.
Gonzales pitched the 11th most innings in these five seasons with the 12th most starts, clocking in at 599 frames and 131 games, respectively. He was also just one of seven pitchers in those five years with 130+ starts and an ERA under 4.00. The other six include Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, Luis Castillo, Zack Greinke, and Robbie Ray. Narrative ball aside, volume and results are always a good combination.
The most recent reports on Gonzales say he’s progressing well and will return by Spring Training. Gonzales also comes with two years of control. The first year is worth $12.25 million, and the second year is a team option valued at $15 million. If Gonzales can return to form next season and pitch to a slightly above league average ERA in nearly 200 innings, he’d totally be worth the $27.25 million over two years. The volume alone is worth that much, let alone the fact he could be a quality no. 3 type starter is icing on the cake.