For the second time this week, the Colorado Rockies have reportedly added another pitcher to its ranks as it continues to try to bolster its pitching depth.
Just a couple of days after signing former San Francisco Giants pitcher Dereck Rodriguez to a deal that includes an invitation to spring training, the Colorado Rockies have signed left-hander Brian Gonzalez to a similar deal. The signing was announced by his agent on Twitter and has not been confirmed by the Rockies at press time.
The 25-year-old southpaw has never pitched above Double-A during his career with the Baltimore Orioles, but was a part of the alternate training site squad compiled by the Orioles during the 2020 season.
Gonzalez was selected in the third round by Baltimore in 2014 and has started 106 of the 130 games in which he has seen action since pitching for Baltimore’s rookie league team shortly after being drafted. However, in 2019 with Double-A Bowie (Md.), Gonzalez appeared in 18 games and started just one while also picking up a save. Opponents that season hit .209 against him as he posted a 1.06 WHIP. He also gave up nine home runs in 41.2 innings of work.
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When called up to Baltimore’s alternate training site, Gonzalez told reporters that he figured to be in a long relief role, which is a position he settled into with Bowie in 2019, as opposed to 2018 when he started 17 of 18 games with the Baysox. Could that be the plan as well with Gonzalez moving over to the Colorado system? Jeff Hoffman and Chi Chi Gonzalez primarily held those roles during the 2020 campaign with mixed success at best.
If so, as a southpaw, Gonzalez would certainly add depth to Colorado’s bullpen, which worked without a left-hander for much of the final month of the 2020 season. Currently, there are only two relievers on Colorado’s 40-man roster (Ben Bowden and Phillip Diehl).
The signing of Gonzalez continues an early offseason trend for the Rockies in making low-risk, low-cost deals to try to find depth. With expenses under the microscope in the wake of COVID-19 and a big financial decision upcoming with Trevor Story’s expiring contract following the 2021 season, look for Colorado to continue to make these types of deals in the hopes of replicating the success it found with a low-risk signing of Daniel Bard before last season that paid high dividends.