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Marlins sign veteran LHP Gio González to minor league deal

Better late than never, the Marlins bring in an experienced arm to provide starting rotation depth.

Milwaukee Brewers v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Left-hander Gio González and the Marlins are in agreement on a minor league deal that includes an invitation to spring training, sources tell Fish Stripes. The Miami Herald’s Craig Mish was first to report the signing. The club hasn’t confirmed it and González must complete MLB intake testing before reporting to camp in Jupiter.

The 35-year-old González was born and raised in nearby Hialeah, which factored into his free agent decision, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. According to the Washington Post, he will earn a $1 million salary in 2021 if he’s selected to the active roster.

Those of you who read my grading the offseason column know that I’ve been critical of the Marlins for neglecting to add veteran starting rotation candidates. Well, González brings with him a terrific résumé—3.70 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 32.1 fWAR, two NL All-Star selections in 1,933.0 IP—and a reputation for treating teammates with respect. On the other hand, Miami is getting him far past his peak. González has made only two quality starts in parts of three seasons since being traded by the Nationals.

For what it’s worth, the southpaw has historically performed very well at Marlins Park (2.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 1 HR in 54.1 IP).

The Marlins have 38 other pitchers listed on their spring training roster. González’s 328 MLB regular season starts are more than all of their career totals combined. Throughout 13 major league seasons with four different franchises, he has always worn uniform No. 47. Conveniently, that number is available with the Fish (last used by Harold Ramirez in 2020).

Manager Don Mattingly could not officially comment on the González news Wednesday morning, but he did speak positively about his character and experience.

Prior to this signing, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and Elieser Hernandez were more or less locked in as the top three starters in the 2021 Marlins rotation, with Sixto Sánchez likely to grab the No. 4 spot. Will González be fully stretched out for Opening Day? He’s been throwing regular bullpen sessions in recent weeks. The other main contenders for the fifth spot are Nick Neidert, Trevor Rogers and Daniel Castano.

González is represented by the agency CAA, just like Alcantara, Neidert, Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro and several other Marlins organizational players.