Minor League deals aren’t the sexiest things in the world to discuss. Because when I talk about stuff like this, I’m sure people roll their eyes and say “whooooo caaaaaaaaares!!!!!” And I probably tend to grumble over things like this a little too much. But when set to the backdrop of the way the offseason has gone so far, which has basically featured fishing trips, juice cleanses, and failed transactions involving Jay Bruce for the Mets front office after bringing back Yoenis Cespedes, a minor league signing is big, important news.
Enter Tom Gorzelanny, who you probably remember as the guy who used to be that nice little soft tossing starter with the Pirates before they got really good. He’s been a reliever the last few years, and his most decent (because “best” will get your hopes up) seasons came with the Nationals and Brewers when he had a WHIP of just a shade under 1.3, which by baseball standards is considered average. Since then, he spent an awful season in Detroit in 2015 where his WHIP shot up to 1.72 (helped by a 5.3 BB/9 rate), and then a brief stint in Cleveland last season which isn’t even worth mentioning. (And apparently, he also pitched six innings for the Baltimore organization, got shelled, and then released six weeks later. This provides all the comfort of a winter blanket that’s warm because it’s electrocuting you.)
But if you haven’t hung yourself with a giveaway scarf by now, here’s some good news: Gorzelanny’s .229 career BAA against lefties will give him some consideration to be that lefty specialist out of the pen. Even when he was terrible in 2015, he had a BAA of .222 against lefties. This might soften the blow of potentially losing Jerry Blevins, but the possibility (or probability) that this could turn out to be an either/or proposition is extremely disappointing. Blevins has done it and done it well for four of the last five years (the fifth year being the one where he was defeated by a line drive and a sidewalk curb.) He also put up very good crossover numbers, though that could be an outlier. Instead, we’ll get a guy who got shelled the last two seasons, and can’t pitch against righties at all but will probably face a good amount of them because Terry Collins just learned the term “YOLO”. The Mets had to get him cheaper than Blevins because nobody wants to give up two legitimate prospects for the privilege of paying Jay Bruce $13 million to impersonate a statue for your favorite team. And because of that, the Gorzellany experiment will play out in New York for all to see instead of Las Vegas where he probably should be … perhaps as a blackjack dealer at the Wynn.
Tom Gorzelanny is the small move that grows when you put it in the water known as the Mets off-season.