By Matt Vensel
10:30 AM EDT, May 19, 2011
Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez -- who is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal -- is wearing out his welcome with even the most patient of Orioles fans. The 32-year-old surrendered four runs in Monday’s come-from-ahead loss to the Red Sox. On Wednesday, he couldn’t get out of a jam against the Yankees.
And he put the Orioles in another bad situation when he plunked Chris Dickerson, sending the Yankees outfielder to the hospital for a CT scan and Gonzalez, who was quickly ejected, to the showers early.
Gonzo’s bean ball -- it’s hard to imagine it was intentional because he was the team’s last available reliever -- forced manager Buck Showalter to use Jeremy Guthrie, who was supposed to start Thursday, in his first relief appearance since 2007. Now Brad Bergesen will be on the mound against CC Sabathia.
You can argue that it was just a bad night for Gonzalez, but your jaw is going to get sore as those bad nights continue to pile up.
He again got booed off the field by the Camden Yards crowd Wednesday, and you can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Signed to be the closer last season, Gonzalez coughed up two games right out of the gate in 2010 and the boo birds already started pecking at him during his first home appearance. We found out that injuries were partially to blame, and after a long stint on the DL, he returned in late July and allowed seven runs in 22 2/3 innings of relief, including seven scoreless appearances to close the season.
But bad Gonzo is back this spring. He allowed eight runs in his first seven appearances, and after his rocky performances this week, his 8.53 ERA is the second-highest on the team (Clay Rapada).
I don’t think talent is the issue with Gonzalez. He turns 33 this weekend, but he can still pitch. His issues appear to be mental and he would probably benefit from a change of scenery. Unfortunately for both him and the Orioles, no one is going to trade for a $6 million reliever who can't get a guy out when it's needed.
Your turn: What should the Orioles do with Gonzalez?
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