Kicking the Gio Gonzalez Tires

Billy Beane wants the full enchilada for Gio Gonzalez. Personally, I think we should give it to him and here's why.

The player

Gio Gonzalez: 26 in 2012, 1st round Draft Pick 2004 (CWS)

Free Agent: After 2015 season, 4 years team control, 2012 projected salary: Super Two Arbitration (Somebody more wise can predict the actual amount cause I don't have a clue: somewhere in 2-6 million range seems likely)

Left handed starting pitcher, Oakland A's

Career ERA: 3.93, ERA past two seasons: 3.23 in 2010, 3.12 in 2011

Career WHIP: 1.410, past two seasons: 1.311, 1.317 respectively

Past 2 years: 368 Ks vs 183 walks, 2.01 ratio in 402.2 Innings

So, what we have here is a top level left handed starting pitcher with a bit of a control issue. Sounds like somebody very familiar to the Twins. The big difference as I'm sure you all noted is the innings pitched. Gonzalez over the past two years has been nothing if not consistent, average just over 6 innings and getting a lot of quality starts. His BABIPs have been a relatively pedestrian .277 & .288 over the past two seasons. Helping him will be that he has the potential to miss a lot of bats when he tries, though sometimes when you average a walk every couple innings you might wish to see him hit a few more. No doubt the Twins would try to neuter him in that direction. At .90 & .99 over the past two seasons for Ground Ball to Fly Ball ratio, he's better then average by a decent margin which would give the Twins outfield a bit of a rest. Anyway that's the big stats stuff. For you people who like the fancy ones, have at it.

Scouting report: Low to Mid 90s fastball, sinking 2 seamer in upper 80s reaching 90, a very good curveball and a - value changeup. He throws the better 3 in actually a pretty even ratio with the changeup in their for junk.

In total: Gonzalez is very good, very young, and very very expensive. You can see why. Entering his prime in a couple of years, he's got top of the rotation stuff and is only improving. Playing in Oakland has probably helped him a bit, but, then again, Target Field could only make it better. We've seen him a couple of times and with the exception of one terrible blowout where we blew a 10 run lead under the steadfast crappiness of Captain Blackburn, he's looked good. For a team that is looking for health and innings, Gonzalez would be an excellent pickup.

What We'd Be Giving Up

Beane wants young hitting. A lot of this has been him talking to the Yankees, Tigers and so on about 3+ top prospects, verging on the young side because apparently if the A's move to San Jose, they want these people to be there. Thus, Gonzalez being a free agent in 2016 doesn't help them much. However, Beane has the luxury of time on his side with Gonzalez. He could realistically trade him at any point over the next 4 years and get good return. Somebody is going to be willing to pay for what Gio has put up over the past 2 seasons. Yet, I'd argue that now would be the best time to get him. The Twins have a crapload of young hitting that could be peaking in 4 years. Honestly, of our list of top prospects, position 2-5 and arguably 7 are outfielders. Compare that with the fact that the Twins have Span under control until 2015 and Revere till I believe 2017 (correct me if I'm wrong) with the reality that there are 5 guys competing for 1 or 2 jobs (assuming Willingham only lasts his contract length or ends up at DH). Even if one assumes that those 5 are it for top level outfielding prospects from here until 2016, the Twins have a lot of flexibility to give Beane what he wants. So I say, do it. Next year the Twins project to lose Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano to free agency, retirement or crappiness. This means that they're going to need pitching, specifically lefthanded inning eaters unless Brian Duensing can somehow surpass the snarky projections of Keith Law (which, if he can, I would jump for joy for). On next year alone, Gio Gonzalez could make the Twins a playoff contender from a .500 team for about the cost of what we currently have leftover from not signing Cuddy.

So what yall think?

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