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  • Chi Chi González is Headed Across the St. Croix River

    David Youngs

    Just hours after pitching in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Minnesota Twins designated starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzales for assignment. 48 hours later the Milwaukee Brewers selected the veteran righty's contract. Here's why the Twins made the move and why the 30-year-old could be valuable for the ballclub on the other side of the river. 

    Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

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    After just two Major League starts in a Minnesota Twins uniform, veteran pitcher Chi Chi González is out the door and headed to The Badger State to pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers. 

    Just minutes after his June 11 start against the Rays, the Twins designated González for assignment. Just two days later, the struggling Brewers signed Gonzalez off of waivers and elevated the right-handed pitcher to the 40-man roster. 

    Gonzalez's tenure in the Twins organization was short, and at times, sweet. Signed to a minor-league contract in March, González pitched eight games for Triple-A St. Paul (five starts) along with two starting pitching appearances for the Twins. 

    There were moments of brilliance for González in St. Paul, finishing his Saints tenure with a 2-2 record and 3.44 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. Starting the season in the bullpen, González notched both his wins as a long-distance reliever in April with solid appearances against Louisville (4 2/3 innings) and Indianapolis (3 innings). From there he started five games for the Saints, highlighted by a six-inning, no-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and four walks against Columbus on May 11. 

    First called up on June 3 due to a myriad of injuries at the parent club, González tossed three innings of three-run, four-hit ball against the Blue Jays en route to a 9-3 Twins win. Called up under similar circumstances last week, González pitched four innings against the Rays on Friday, giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out three. Minnesota won the game 6-5 and Trevor Megill earned the win for the Twins. So that is correct, the Twins were 2-0 in games started by Chi Chi Gonzalez. 

    The Twins did win both games (against talented opponents) in the pair of games that González started. However, it was not solely because of him. González tabbed a -0.18 WPA (Win Probability Added) in his most recent start and -0.15 WPA in his Twins debut against the Blue Jays; not great. 

    The brutal reality is that there is no space for González on a semi-healthy Minnesota Twins roster. Given his experience, González served as an adequate filler for a starting rotation that has struggled with injuries to five of its six starting pitchers. Yet with Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray back on the bump, the filler role has been eliminated and González's minor league numbers aren't consistent enough to create a need for the Twins. 

    Consider the roster crunch that's about to happen. Last week, the Twins DFAd Gonzalez and Juan Minaya. A day after adding Elliot Soto to the 40-man roster, he was DFAd to add Joe Ryan back to the roster. Someone will have to be optioned or DFAd to bring Sonny Gray off of the Injured List on Wednesday. The life of the journeyman is certainly not always easy. 

    Yet when one door closes, another may open. The Brewers are 2-8 in their last ten games and starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are on the Injured List along with a number of relievers. With experience as a starting pitcher as well as a reliever, González could serve as a valuable patch for a Milwaukee club that is in a tight battle with St. Louis for top dog in the NL Central. 

    Noted as a great person and clubhouse guy, hopefully, this new opportunity presents González the chance to find his groove in a cutthroat industry that is less than forgiving. 


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    I think he knew the kind of pitcher he is and that is a pitch to contact kind of guy.  He is going to try and make guys hit it on the ground and hope his defense can get the job done.  He gave up 12 hits in 7 innings at the MLB level with zero walks only 4 K's and an ERA of 7.00 so that strategy is not working well just yet.

    He probably can be a serviceable pitcher on an MLB team in need of a 5th starter but I don't think he is someone who is going to improve to be much more than he is right now.  I appreciate what he did for the Twins organization and wish him the best but it wasn't going to work out here for him IMO.

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    11 hours ago, Linus said:

    OMG. There are dozens of guys like this moving around almost daily. Non story. 

    It is true that there are a lot of guys like Chi Chi Gonzalez out there. Outcomes are varied. Most move around and get occasional opportunities (guys like Andrew Albers and Aaron Slegers), some find a home in an organization. Most don't make much of a mark. It looks like Gonzalez will get an opportunity with the Brew Crew. Good for him.

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    There would have been a major uproar if the Twins had signed Chi Chi in the off-season and put him on the major league roster.

    Instead, they got his services for a minor league deal. 

    But it was just finding the time to add him to the 40-man. Should he have been called up before Derek Rodriguez? Was he a better choice than Cole Sands and should we have given those Sands starts to him?

    Would you rather have Chi Chi or Bundy in the rlotation? Does that say moe about Bunday, and less about Chi Chi?

    Needed to see more of him, and almost wished the Twins ahd stretched him to the 5-6 innings he was capable of throwing.

    But in the long-term, he is our #10, at best, starter.



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