The international mystery man? Who are we kidding? Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is no James Bond.
No, he is who we thought he was. And just think, the Philadelphia Phillies nearly threw $50 million away on the Cuban export.
High criticism for the righty should be expected. After all, Gonzalez has been nothing but lackluster in his failure to impress at Spring Training. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported “Gonzalez’s stuff doesn’t jump out at you. His control has been spotty.” Additionally, Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg “has not been blown away by Gonzalez.”
Gonzalez’s velocity looked down compared with many of the other pitchers around him who are supposed to have similar arm strength. Later, manager Ryne Sandberg was asked for his appraisal of Gonzalez and said, “I’m interested to see him build arm strength.”
Strong indicators of Gonzalez’s downside should have been considered when he settled for a much smaller contract than initially reported. Upon settling for $12 million over three years, the Phillies should have tempered the Gonzalez fervor. Instead they didn’t. He was all but penciled into the Opening Day starting rotation. After a shaky debut in Clearwater, Gonzalez is all but certain to begin the year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com had this to say about Gonzalez following his spring debut: “The Phillies might not be at the panic stage yet, but at the very least, it’s safe to say it might be time to worry.”
Versus the New York Yankees, Gonzalez managed just five outs after throwing 50 pitches. His line resembled something we would expect from a non-roster invitee: two hits allowed, four walks and one earned run given up. Needless to say, our first look at Gonzalez in live game action left us thirsting for more. A lot more.
All things considered, Gonzalez doesn’t make or break the Phillies rotation. A minor league stint to open the season is all but inevitable. If the Cuban export can rehash his ability after two years of inaction, the Phillies have found an inexpensive gem. If not, it will only cost them a little more than half of what Kyle Kendrick will earn in 2014.