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Orioles rumors: Team interested in reunion with Miguel Gonzalez

There are at least three teams interested in free agent Miguel Gonzalez, according to a report. The Orioles are one of those teams, making a reunion a possibility.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Orioles made a mistake when they released Miguel Gonzalez prior to the 2016 season in order to save a few million dollars of salary. They later used that money to pay Wade Miley after acquiring Miley last July, compounding the error. Gonzalez is a free agent now. The Orioles, according to The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo Encina, are one of at least three teams interested in Gonzalez.

The phrase "expressed interest" often goes unexplained in free agent reports, but in this case, Encina explains what it means: The Orioles have requested medical information about Gonzalez, a common first step in the process.

That the Orioles desperately need three starting pitchers is well-documented. They have the money available to spend a bit more on two of those starters if they go for a lower-cost player for the third spot. That could be Gonzalez, who is coming off a 2017 season that could only look good to a team whose rotation was as horrible as the O's was.

Although Gonzalez has a respectable 4.21 ERA in 50 starts since the Orioles cast him aside, his 2016 was much better than his 2017. The most recent season saw Gonzalez post a 4.62 ERA over 27 starts. That ERA was inflated by having two out of five disastrous starts with the Rangers after a late August trade.

Is a reunion with Gonzalez a good idea? It's now been three seasons since his last successful year in an Orioles uniform, which was 2014. If it's only for one year and not a lot of money, it couldn't hurt.

In the category of "reunion with a recent Orioles pitcher," Gonzalez might even be a better choice than Chris Tillman because of there being fewer concerns about his health.

Though decreased velocity in spring training continues to be cited, including by Encina today, as a reason why the Orioles chose to release Gonzalez before last season, he's gone on to maintain the same average fastball velocity, according to Fangraphs, that he did in Baltimore.

If the Orioles thought Gonzalez's velocity was gone for good, they were wrong, as they have been wrong with many things about many pitchers in the last couple of years. Remember, they could have sent him to Norfolk and given him time to try to rebound. They went cheap and tried to save about three million dollars instead, and they cost themselves a lot more than that in the long run.

Anyway, although Gonzalez is now 33 and turning 34 in May, he's not losing his fastball just yet. His low strikeout rate and homer-prone tendencies mean he might only be a back of the rotation starter, which isn't very exciting, but then, if the Orioles do nothing, the internal option for the back of the rotation is currently Mike Wright, so...

Gonzalez made $5.9 million in his final year of arbitration this season. I don't know what his 2017 performance will set him up for with a contract in this market, but I do know that if the Orioles aren't willing to pay it, there's no point in pretending they might fix the starting rotation this year.