The Phillies signed Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in just about two years ago, to a three-year, $12-million deal. The contract was for much less than Gonzalez initially was set to receive, but issues with his elbow came to light, the deal was downsized by millions of dollars. It's a good thing that the Phillies caught the medical issue or they would have spent even more money for nothing in return. Gonzalez threw 5 1/3 innings in six relief appearances with the Phillies in 2014, posting an ERA of 6.75 with a WHIP of 2.25 with the club.
Gonzalez has spent most of his tenure in the Phillies organization on the DL and hasn't pitched at all this season after being outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley late in spring training. To get him there, the Phillies had to put him through waivers and, as expected, he went unclaimed. They're still on the hook for the money, but the move gave them a spot on the 40-man roster.
Tuesday saw Gonzalez make his second rehab start with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. The results were promising. Gonzalez has now thrown four innings in the GCL, allowing four hits and two walks. He hasn't allowed a run and has struck out four batters. Granted, the success comes at the lowest levels of the minor leagues, so it has to be somewhat dampened.
The question now, is what's next for Gonzalez? What's the end game for Gonzalez and the Phillies? It could be that the Phillies will simply allow Gonzalez to move up the minor league ladder for the remainder of the minor league season and make sure he's healthy enough to pitch in winter ball. The chances that they expect to see him at the major league level are slim and none. It might make some sense to get him back up to Triple-A and give him at least a few outings there.
The big measure will come in winter ball, which it's assumed that Gonzalez will take advantage of in one of the winter leagues. That will give the Phillies at least an idea of what to expect of Gonzalez when he arrives in camp next year and what they might hope to get out of him. Odds are that they're not counting on much of anything, considering his track record of poor performances and injuries through the first two seasons of his contract.
At some point, the Phillies will also need to decide whether to attempt to develop Gonzalez as a starter or reliever for next season as he enters the final year of his contract.