Gio Gonzalez was drafted by the White Sox out of high school back in 2004 and has been involved in three Sox trades since, but has never pitched for the big-league club. It appears that will finally change.
On Friday, the team officially announced the signing of the 34-year-old lefthander to a one-year deal. Gonzalez will receive $4.5 million in 2020, while the White Sox hold a $7 million option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout.
Starting pitching has been a top priority for the White Sox this offseason. Gonzalez isn't a frontline starter, but he's an upgrade in the middle or back end of a rotation sorely needing depth.
Last season, the lefthander pitched just 87.1 innings with the Milwaukee Brewers with another 21.2 minor-league and rehab innings as well. With the Brewers, Gonzalez had a 3.50 ERA, 78 strikeouts, 37 walks and 76 hits allowed.
Pending further additions, the White Sox rotation starts with All-Star Lucas Giolito. After that, it's up in the air. Michael Kopech, coming off Tommy John surgery, will have an innings limit. Dylan Cease can build on a mostly disappointing debut in 2019, but is likely to have an innings limit as well. Reynaldo Lopez isn't expected to have any restrictions, but struggled last year. Carlos Rodon will join at some point off his Tommy John surgery and rehab, but could miss half the year.
A short-term deal with Gonzalez doesn't take the White Sox out of the running for the remaining quality free agents on the market, including Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Gonzalez's acquisition adds yet another layer to one of the weirder histories between a player and a club. Gonzalez was drafted No. 38 overall by the White Sox in 2004 and quickly moved up through the minors and became one of the team's top prospects. A year-and-a-half after being drafted, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in a deal that also included Aaron Rowand in exchange for Jim Thome.
Almost exactly a year later, the Phillies sent him back to the White Sox: Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd joined the Sox in exchange for Freddy Garcia, who was a part of the 2005 World Series-winning rotation.
The following offseason, Gonzalez was flipped again, as the White Sox sent him to Oakland in the Nick Swisher trade.
Gonzalez made his MLB debut in 2008 with the A's and spent the next four seasons there before nearly seven with the Washington Nationals and parts of the last two seasons with the Brewers. He was an All-Star in 2011 with the A's and in 2012 with the Nationals. In 2020, he figures to make his first start for the team that originally drafted him, traded him, traded for him and traded him again.