June 11, 2001
I am entertaining trade offers for SP Alberto Gonzalez. Donít look so shocked. Only Todd Fletcher is untouchable.
Gonzalez has been inconsistent (5-3, 4.31 ERA) and has missed a couple of starts with a minor injury. Some of his fundamental stats are very good (1.26 WHIP, 2.9 K/BB ratio) and some are not (45% GB ratio, 5/11 quality starts, 1.4 HR/9). I signed him because I wanted a veteran to start that big game in the playoffs. Honestly, I am less excited over the prospect of him starting that game now after seeing how unpredictable he is.
I donít intend to sign him for next season at $9M or more. It is only prudent business to see what I can get for him on the open market. Several teams need a front-line starting pitcher. Gonzalez is so highly regarded that almost every team is willing to offer a blue chip player or top prospect for him. It is more about what I want than what I can get.
Gonzalez is valuable, but at the same time replaceable. Fernando Candelaria remains convinced that Ron Sims should be in the rotation. He could move back in as the fifth starter with Martinez and Gibson shifting up a slot. Jim Poole is 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA in AAA, and could fill the long-man role in the bullpen. There are a couple of veteran arms available on the trading block in case Sims falters again or there is a serious injury, plus we have a couple of emergency options in AAA.
I can thus rationalize trading Gonzalez, but I donít think my fans will embrace the idea. Gonzalez is wildly popular. Louisville fans may not understand trading a quality pitcher while in the midst of a pennant race. I am not sure that I can justify it myself except to say that I believe we can still win without him. Hereís the rough draft of my rehearsed answer for Gordon Cooper when he storms into my office and says ďyou did what?Ē
ďGonzalez was an asset with a short shelf life that I flipped for long-term assets that will have greater value to the franchise over the long haul. Gonzalez has been worth about 0.5 runs per game over an ordinary replacement pitcher like Sims. Our offense is #2 in the league, and good enough to cover for that one-half run most of the time. We only need four starters in the playoffs anyway, and Gonzalez might have been the odd man out considering the way that Gibson is pitching. The potential return for Gonzalez was too rewarding to pass up. Trust me Ė we can win it all without him.Ē
This speech might work on Gordon. I know it wonít satisfy our fans, but I will worry about that if or when the time comes. Gonzalez hasnít been traded yet, so all of this may come to nothing unless someone wows me with an offer I canít refuse. Iím not going to give him away. Stay tuned between now and July 31.
Oh, and please donít tell BNN about any of this. We donít need the distractions.