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Welcome back, Gio González!

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Third time is the charm for our 2004 first-rounder

Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals
Long and winding road: González is back with the team that drafted him, traded him, reacquired him, and traded him again without suiting him up for a single game.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The third time’s the charm for Giovany González, apparently.

The news broke early Thursday afternoon that the White Sox had reached agreement with the veteran southpaw, with no official announcement or details yet.

After drafting him with a sandwich pick in the first round of the 2004 draft, dealing him with Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome, requiring him with Gavin Floyd for Freddy García, and dealing him again in a package for Nick Swisher, González is back on the South Side.

Given Chicago’s desperate need for starters, presumably Gio actually will pitch for the White Sox in this go-round.

Like in the case of the other big signing by the White Sox this offseason, Yasmani Grandal, González is such a good fit, it’s amazing the team didn’t just snap him up a season ago; after a 2.2 bWAR season with the Nationals and Brewers in 2018, in the depressed climate of last offseason González was inked to a mere minors deal with the Yankees.

Such a paltry offer — González was released from his deal per the agreement after not being promoted to the majors, and hooked on again with Milwaukee for 17 starts in the second half of 2019 — doesn’t fall in line with González’s consistent solid value as a trusty major league starter. Over 12 MLB seasons, Double-G has compiled 30.7 bWAR and has averaged 158 ⅓ innings per season (187 per year, if you discount his first two partial seasons and 2019).

Perhaps of greater import for the White Sox, who ran out subpar non majors-caliber starters for 44 starts last season, is Gonzalez’s reliability; he simply doesn’t have an off-season. Just one year of his nine full seasons in the majors has been truly poor, his 2016 in Washington (4.57 ERA, 0.9 bWAR). But even there, González had a 3.76 FIP, so something fishy was going on there.

In 2019, González put up a 1.9 bWAR in essentially half a season’s worth of starts, so even in his age-33 season, the southpaw showed no signs of slowing down.


In other news of note, the White Sox inked Cheslor Cuthbert to a minor league deal, continuing a determined recent effort of employ ex-Royals as AAAA filler (Alcides Escobar, Ryan Goins). Cuthbert has been, mildly put, a horrible player in his 322-game Royals career, with a .679 OPS, -1.2 bWAR and negative defensive value at third base and first base. He’s 27 years old.