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Yankees release Gio Gonzalez

Gonzalez certainly didn’t do much to increase his value during his stint in the Yankes organization, but he still may be heavily pursued on the free-agent market.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have released left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez from his minor-league contract, per a club announcement Monday afternoon. He had signed a deal with the team in late March that granted him the opportunity to become a free agent again if he wasn’t added to the major-league roster by April 20:

Gonzalez’s deal with the Yankees would have paid him a pro-rated portion of $3 million if he had been called up to the majors, plus $250,000 per start and incentives that would have allowed the contract to max out at $12 million. With the Yankees currently missing Luis Severino (and Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and C.C. Sabathia having shaky injury histories), it certainly seems as if the front office wasn’t impressed with what they saw in order to not call Gonzalez up.

Gonzalez, 33, posted a 6.00 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP, 19 strikeouts, and six walks over three starts (15 innings) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A two-time All-Star and 2012 NL Cy Young finalist, Gonzalez isn’t coming off a particularly great 2018 season, either, as he posted a 4.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP with 148 strikeouts and 80 walks over 32 starts (145.2 innings). But while he struggled with the Nationals, he thrived down the stretch after being dealt to the Brewers in a waiver trade on August 31, posting a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over five starts. The Brewers’ conservative use of their starting pitchers surely played a role in Gonzalez’s success, as he got through the sixth inning just once in Milwaukee.

With several contending teams really pressed for starting pitching depth and pitching generally being bad around the league (juiced-ball conspiracy theorists, now’s your time to shine), one would think there would be a decent market for Gonzalez. But seeing as no team has bit on Dallas Keuchel yet and that Gonzalez had such trouble finding a contract in the first place, the outlook may not be as shiny for him as it’d appear to be at face value. Clubs that could make sense for him include the Mets — who straight-up need starting depth at this point, no matter how good it is — as well as the Red Sox, Indians, Padres, Cubs, Phillies, Angels, Blue Jays, and a couple of his former clubs, the Athletics and Brewers.