Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable #5

What is Mike Gonzalez’ perceived value to your team? What would be a fair return for him in a trade?
Dan Benton from Off the Facade:
His value to the Yankees would come in the form of primary set-up man for Mariano Rivera. He would also be able to close games when Mo was not available. Basically he’ll have the job the Yankees wanted to give Kyle Farnsworth that he wasn’t able to do. Gonzalez would potentially shorten a game to 7 innings. It’s something the Yankees have not had since Jeff Nelson and/or Mike Stanton but something they have desired. That bridge from the starter (or middle relief) is fast becoming a major role in the MLB and specifically for the Yankees who have lost far too many games due to a shaky set-up man in the past 2-3 years.
In my honest opinion a fair trade would be straight up for Melky Cabrera. Cabrera is a far better player than people realize and has the potential of being a big time OFer in MLB over the next half dozen years. While he may never hit a ton of home-runs [but does have some pop] he can steal some bags and hit .290-.300. He also has a fantastic arm and is an above average defensive player. He can play all OF spots and could lead off.
People think that the Pirates should/could get more in return but I could guarantee Melky alone would be more than fair.
Zachary Jett from Baby Braves:
I believe that the value of Mike Gonzalez to the Braves has changed during this offseason. Before the Braves acquired Rafael Soriano, Gonzalez had tremendous value for Atlanta. I still think Gonzalez would be a nice pickup for the Braves but they are not as desperate to add a top notch reliever anymore. Gonzalez is clearly closer material and Soriano isn’t proven but he has been dubbed “closer of the future” in Atlanta which makes the deal for Gonzalez even less likely.
A fair trade involving Adam LaRoche and Mike Gonzalez would require the Pirates to add another minor player in my opinion. LaRoche is a young, left-handed, slugging first baseman which is very valuable and the only reason Atlanta was going to deal him for Gonzalez straight up is because they were desperate for a bullpen arm.
There was a period of a few hours where I thought that Atlanta had complete both trades and acquired both Gonzalez and Soriano. I didn’t really understand why they would need both of them but I was fine with the trade because it would have made their bullpen unstoppable. I say that to show that LaRoche for Gonzalez straight up is pretty fair but with Atlanta’s current make-up, they could justifiably hold out for a prospect along with Gonzalez.
Evan Brunell from Fire Brand of the American League:
Mike Gonzalez interests the Red Sox very much, and they seem to be willing to part with center-fielder Coco Crisp, who could offer the Pirates the lefty bat they want. However, the Pirates are looking for power in this position, and the Red Sox seem hesitant to part with Wily Mo Pena for the former Red Sox (only for a few days)! The Red Sox tried to interest other teams in Crisp via a three-way trade, but nothing has materialized yet The lefty would immediately become Boston’s closer, but the Red Sox do not want to sell the farm for Gonzalez, who has an injury history even though he has electric stuff. If I was the GM of the Red Sox, I would at least explore a Wily Mo Pena / Mike Gonzalez swap, but I would be very hesitant to give up Pena because Pena is the only young player with power potential. There’s David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Wily Mo Pena and that’s it for at least four years as the Red Sox’s next good power prospects are both 18. In the end, I would stick with Coco Crisp and a young, high-upside reliever (Edgar Martinez?) as my best offer for Gonzalez.

Kellia Ramares from Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes:

The young lefty closer, Mike Gonzalez of the Pirates, would make a nice addition to the inconsistent D’Backs bullpen, but I would be surprised if Arizona got him. I suspect that the D’Backs’ first hope is that current closer Jose Valverde, a righty, will shape up. He seems to be doing so in winter ball. As of 12/15 he made 14 appearances in Venezuela, posting a record of 3-1 with 7 saves and a 2.19 ERA. The D’Backs might also be waiting to see if the Rangers make Akinori Otsuka available, after making sure that Eric Gagne can perform. Otsuka, more experienced than Valverde or Gonzalez, converted 32 of 36 save opportunities last season.
The D’Backs could definitely use more lefthandedness in the bullpen, which is part of what makes Gonzalez attractive. But they just got southpaw Dana Eveland in the one move they have made so far this offseason, a big 6-player trade with the Brewers that also brought them lefty starter Doug Davis. Eveland just turned 23, meaning he’s five years younger than Gonzalez. If the value of Gonzalez to the D’Backs is the fact that he is a lefty, they might want to see if Eveland can work out rather than give someone up for Gonzo that they might wish later they hadn’t.
That then brings us to the issue of whom the Bucs would want in exchange for Gonzalez. Right now it seems they want a Lefty McThump. But the Snakes have shed their lefties like old skin–parting with Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez and switch hitter, Johnny Estrada. A D’Backs’ web site reader suggested that outfielder Scott Hairston might be traded to Pittsburgh, but D’Backs’ beat writer Steve Gilbert correctly noted that Hairston, a right-handed batter who spent most of last year in Triple A, does not have the trade value of Adam LaRoche, the lefthanded first baseman of the Braves, who hit 32 homers last year.
The D’Backs have not been dynamic in the offseason market. Thus, I don’t expect them to go after Mike Gonzalez. Rather I expect them so see if Valverde can continue his winter ball success in spring training, and Eveland can pan out as the lefty in the bullpen. They may make a run at Gonzo if the much-talked-about three-way deal among the Yankees, Pirates and Braves falls through, he is still available in March and they have doubts about Valverde’s effectiveness going into the regular season.

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