Among the starting pitching upgrades the Orioles pursued in advance of Thursday night’s deadline to add players to be eligible for the postseason was right-hander Miguel González.
The Orioles were in discussions with the Chicago White Sox on a possible trade this week to reunite with González, but the asking price was too high, according to industry sources.
The White Sox instead dealt González to the Texas Rangers in advance of Thursday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline, according to an industry source with knowledge of the situation. The Rangers are four games out of the second American League wild-card spot.
The package the White Sox asked for from the Orioles is unknown, but the Rangers sent infielder Ti’Quan Forbes — their second-round draft pick in 2014 who owns a .246/.304/.330 career slash line and has only reached the High-A level — to Chicago for González.
Meanwhile, the Orioles — who sit 2½ games out of the second AL wild-card spot after an ugly 11-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays — allowed Thursday night’s deadline to pass without acquiring the pitching upgrade that executive vice president Dan Duquette was seeking.
González would have been a nice fit. He pitched his eighth quality start in his past nine outings Thursday afternoon, holding the Minnesota Twins to three runs over six innings in a 5-4 Chicago loss.
He cleared revocable waivers in mid-August, making him available to any club that wanted him. For teams to be able to carry players in the postseason, they must be placed on the organizational roster before Sept. 1.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez is 7-10 with a 4.31 ERA in 22 starts in his second season with the White Sox after the Orioles released him on April 1, 2016.
During his improved nine-start stretch since returning from the disabled list right after the All-Star break, González has allowed two runs or fewer in six games. Over that stretch, he has quality starts against several contending teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Rangers and Twins.
In his time with the Orioles, González built a strong track record against AL East opponents, and Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays was the start of 24 of their final 29 games coming against division opponents. He also has seen success as a starter and a reliever.
González will be a free agent after this season.
It would have been an interesting reunion. The Orioles released González in spring training ahead of the 2016 season, instead opting to go with young right-handers Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson in their rotation. González had struggled through a rocky spring training, posting a 9.78 ERA while showing decreased velocity. Also, by releasing González when they did in the final week of spring training, they were only on the hook for one-fifth of his $5.1 million salary. The White Sox later signed him to a minor league deal.
The veteran right-hander was coming off his worst season with the Orioles in 2015 and sat out essentially all of September with elbow and shoulder soreness, ending the season 9-12 with a 4.91 ERA. But in the three season prior to that, he'd been as reliable as they come for the Orioles. Signed as a free agent ahead of the 2012 season, González was in the major league rotation by midseason and posted a 3.45 ERA while going 30-21 from 2012-14.