Pirates add to rotation by landing Gonzales from Braves

December 6th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Pirates took a step to address their starting pitching needs on Tuesday by acquiring veteran left-hander from Atlanta for a player to be named later.

The Pirates will also be acquiring cash considerations in the deal. Gonzales is due to make $12,250,000 next year in the final season of the four-year, $30 million extension he signed with the Mariners in February 2020.

Pirates get: LHP Marco Gonzales, cash
Braves get: Player to be named

The Braves acquired the 31-year-old Gonzales from Seattle as part of the Jarred Kelenic trade Sunday night as baseball’s Winter Meetings got underway. Atlanta had no intention of keeping Gonzales and instead sent him to Pittsburgh, where general manager Ben Cherington has made no secret this week about his team’s need for starting pitching.

Gonzales has a 65-49 record and a 4.14 ERA over nine Major League seasons, including 155 big league starts and eight relief appearances. He made just 10 starts this past season, going 4-1 with a 5.22 ERA and a 4.28 FIP over 50 innings before a left forearm strain landed him on the injured list in early June. Ironically, he made his final start May 28 against the Pirates, allowing one run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. He experienced what he later referred to as “achy soreness” in his forearm, an issue that left him struggling to loosen his arm to throw.

Gonzales underwent surgery in August to address the issue, a cleanout procedure to decompress the anterior interosseous nerve. It’s not a common surgery, but pitchers have successfully returned from it, including Scott Alexander and Brandon Morrow.

Gonzales will try to fill a void in a Pirates rotation depleted by injuries, most recently Tommy John surgery for Johan Oviedo. Pittsburgh’s list of healthy proven starters includes Mitch Keller and little else.

“We want to add starting pitching in some way, in some fashion,” Cherington said Monday, “and I expect we will.”

While Gonzales' salary is sizable, Cherington said earlier Tuesday the team is willing to increase payroll to fill needs.