Why no love for Mike Gonzalez?

Why no love for Mike Gonzalez?

Mike Gonzalez

When the Braves pulled the trigger on acquiring Mike Gonzalez, many applauded the move as good bullpen depth play. He’s–at least to this point– been tabbed as Bob Wickman’s set-up man. My question is why?

Let’s get the controversy out of the way right now. If someone told me that Gonzalez was the best closer in 2006, I may object, but not too loudly. He had a stellar 2.17 ERA, a high—for a closer—WHIP of 1.35, and struck out 64 in 54 innings. His claim to fame? He was the only to have a 100% save success rate, going 24 – 24. In an article written a few months back (BJ Ryan & Chris Ray), I argued that save success rate was more important than a pretty ERA & WHIP for a closer. I still feel this way, although 8th inning dominance is certainly a great added bonus.

Now Wickman was great in his Atlanta stint, with a 1.04 ERA & 18 – 19 in save opportunities. So I can understand using him until he falters. But how much rope will he be given? In his last season and a half with the Cleveland Indians, Wickman was 60 – 68 in save situations, for an 88% conversion rate.

All-in-all, I feel sorry for Gonzalez. He posts a 100% conversion rate and is rewarded with a trade and a demotion in position. He will surely have a greater chance at winning in Atlanta, and should be first in line for the job when–not if–Wickman falters. But he certainly isn’t getting the recognition he deserves from the baseball media.

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

  • Good point, I barely hear anything about Gonzalez. Now that he is out of the Pittsburgh wasteland I expect we will be hearing a lot more of him. Wild Proclamation: he is the Braves closer before April is out.