Nationals Baseball: Gio 50 game impact

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gio 50 game impact

If you are just waking up Gio Gonzalez has been linked to a PED clinic. It might be nothing.  Then again, there aren't many other names included on this list and ones that are included Alex Rodriguez (admitted user), Bartolo Colon (suspended 2012), and Melky Cabrera (suspended 2012) so it doesn't look good. Still innocent until suspended.

What we want to know is if Gio is supsended how big an impact losing Gio for 50 games would mean for 2013.  50 games is roughly 30% of the season, meaning Gio would miss roughly 10 starts. That's a pretty big loss.

Of course he wouldn't be replaced by no one. With Gorzo gone, the thought might be that Zack Duke would take up this role, but that doesn't seem likely to me. He is scheduled to be the lone lefty in the pen. He hasn't been a starter since early in 2010.  It just seems like work.  Christian Garcia is an interesting idea, but just that, and idea.  We've talked about how a 2-time TJ surgery reliever shouldn't be pressed immediately into a starting role (probably shouldn't be pressed into a starting role at all).  Instead we'd likely have a Spring Training battle with Yunesky Maya being the strong favorite to win.

Maya pitched a lot better in AAA last year than in previous years.  1.186 WHIP, 40 walks in 167 IP. But he's still not that good.  20 homers. Only 89 Ks.  A crazy low BABIP .258 that's unlikely to be repeated.  But the thing is there isn't anyone after that.  Would you rather Tanner Roark? Jeff Mandel?  Until you get to A-ball it's a parade of never-weres.

If Maya does pitch and is bad, what does that cost the Nats? Since we are using last year as the baseline and last year Gio was awesome, that's going to be somewhere between 1-2 wins total. I know that doesn't seem like a lot but you have to look at the big picture.  There are some games the Nats aren't going to lose no matter who is on the mound.  They are that good. Gio might win them 8-2 while Maya gets a win 8-5 but it's still a win.  There are going to be a couple games too in those 10 that it doesn't matter who pitches, the Nats will lose.  They get shutout, Maya or Gio, they still lose that game. So it's only a handful of games where it actually matters who's the pitcher and to say the Nats win 1-2 more games with Gio than Maya in those handful, that's actually saying it's a big difference between the two.

You can see though, other than being the first step down a slippery slope, a long suspension for Gio would not derail the Nats on it's own.  But if you are super scared there is a FA option. No, not Kyle Lohse.  If he was willing to walk from the Cardinals he's not coming to the Nats on some small deal. No, I mean Joe Saunders, who wants a multi-year deal, but is now sitting looking at a 1yr deal from Minnesota.  He's not great or anything but he's better than Maya. He's AL-> NL.  I'm not saying this is the best idea, but if you are desperate to get as many wins as possible it might be a way to go. 

Either way now we sit and wait and hope for nothing


Anonymous said...

Could Stammen fill in? Then get another long reliever for the pen?

JC said...

Whats 1.c.1 ?

Anonymous said...

How about Lohse for $13-15 Million on a one year contract?

Wally said...

This sucks. Innocent until proven guilty, but it doesn't look good.

Hopefully it turns into nothing. but if they lose him early, I think that they go outside the organization. Maybe back to the Javy Vasquez rumors. The harder thing will be if they lose him mid season, then they will likely have to make do with internal options. My God, Maya. The horror.

DezoPenguin said...

Here's where the prayer wheels need to start turning...a 50-game PED suspension would easily be the equivalent of the "big injury to a starter" under the nightmare scenario. I'm with Wally, though--I do not want to see the Nats fishing for internal solutions, especially since this year's internal solutions look a whole lot worse on paper than last year's internal solutions (Lannan, Gorzo, and even Wang didn't *look* like he'd be as bad as he was coming off the previous year's mediocrity).

Harper said...

Anon #1 - he has a track record but I'd imagine they'd be a little reluctant to do that. They turned him into a reliever for a reason I imagine.

JC - No idea.

Anon #2 - just can't see him agreeing to that. You'd have to think the Cards would give him that.

Harper said...

wally - forgot about Javy. That's a decent play now.

Dezo- the Nats have a "2 injury" cushion or so this won't kill them but it would cut them to a 1 injury cushion

blovy8 said...

They also still have Ryan Perry on the 40-man roster, but he doesn't seem to have the command to be any more viable than Maya. I would think they wouldn't go even as big as Saunders.

Gio's dad appears to be taking the bullet at the moment.

Wally said...

Does Perry still have an option? I thought no at the time of the trade, but Todd @ Nationals Arms Race thinks he does, based on days of major league service time. Hope that he is right, I think that he is an intriguing guy.

Here is Gio's statement:
"I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will," the statement says. "I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie."

Zimmerman11 said...

If he did it, I'd much rather prefer a mia culpa to a protracted, drama-filled denial... Do the right thing and don't be a distraction to this team. Fess up, do your time, and come back rested for the second half.

Froggy said...

I believe Gio. Besides, he has the totally non-typical body for a PED user. This is all crap

Maybe his dad went there for a different 'performance enhancer'?

Zimmerman11 said...

It's too bad, he seemed like such a class guy, good clubhouse presence, didn't need to worry about him doing something like THIS. Same clinic as dozens of other athletes, and he's paying all that money for what? His dad's weight loss program? Seems very, very unlikely. If he's gonna get suspended, let it happen before the season starts, PLEASE!

Froggy said...

I would hope Gio consulted an attorney before making that flat denial...besides, now that he has come out with denial statement, he couldn't turn right around and say, 'ok, I lied. I did use some stuff from the clinic'. He would be perjuring himself.

According this BS article, his dad is on the list and if there is any association with Gio, it is probably b/c he paid for his dad's treatments.

When we hear of hormone therapy or PED's in the sports pages it is always in association with an athlete possibly cheating. To be fair, the vast majority of the customers who go to these 'Anti-aging clinics' are middle aged men (and some women) who ether have a legitimate need due to a deficiency or want to try and feel young again through testosterone or HGH adjuncts. It is a billion dollar business. And there is nothing illegal about it.

Let's all climb in from the ledge now...

blovy8 said...

He wouldn't be perjuring himself since he didn't deny it in court.

blovy8 said...

I thought Perry would have to make the club to stick on the team. They've certainly invested enough effort in the guy at this point.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

Honestly i am not worked up, yet. Nothing he got was banned for mlb, and he still hasn't been proven guilty on anything.

cass said...

Some people have connected Gio's career year with the PED link, so I went to Fangraphs to check out his velo chart, figuring that if the PEDs did have that much of an effect on his pitching, this is where we'd see it. I had thought that Gio hadn't really had much of an increase in velocity over the years. I was wrong.

How common is it for a player's velocity to increase steadily over a span of several years like that? Usually, I just hear about players losing velocity, or perhaps regaining lost velocity. But do players usually improve their velocity as they get into their prime?

Nattydread said...

Nightmare scenario number 1. Say it ain't so.

Harper said...

blovy / Wally - no idea on Perry's option. Seems like no one is sure. If nats prospects doesn't know, I sure as hell am not going to stake a guess. Again I don't necessarily like RP -> SP but at least Ryan has got half a year like that under his belt. I guess he'd be in teh mix.

z11 - IF he did it. We'll see

Froggy - body type isn't end all be all, but I'll defer to believing him too until more evidence comes up.

C&S - agreed. I don't like where it could be headed but I'll worry about that when we get there.

cass - uuhhhhhhhhh ok that's interesting. You do usually lose velocity from day 1.

However I'd say Gio is, up until this year, in an age range where an increase isn't absurd. Now though you just start getting to old for tricks and changes to help more than the body starts to take away. Interesting and I couldn't find a contemporary with similar increase... but I only looked at a few. I'll take a deeper look tonight.

ND - Not yet! Haven't even gone to sleep yet. Just ate a lot of candy.

blovy8 said...

I don't know if a 1/2 mph a year is suspicious, but Gio is throwing his fastball more which might help. Detwiler gained a bit of velocity too, and he's been throwing it quite a bit more. The curve Gio's got would seem to take a lot out of an arm.

Lannan went from 86.7 to 89.4 on his fastball in the past five years. It's just that no one cares since it still stinks.

blovy8 said...

OK, per Fangraphs, some examples make it seem a bit more common -

David Price
2009 - 92.9
2010 - 94.6
2011 - 94.8
2012 - 95.5

Sabathia as a young pitcher:
2002 - 92.3
2003 - 92.8
2004 - 93.8
2005 - 94.7

Josh Johnson
2005 - 91.0
2006 - 91.8
2007 - 92.4
2008 - 93.5
2009 - 95.0

BlueLoneWolf said...

Apparently the records on Gio for this are hazy, but in all honesty, just because we're fans doesn't mean we can 'lalala not listening' this. I wish that it wasn't true and if he did do it he'd be smart and man up and take what's coming to him, but still, this is a bit nerve-wracking. It's shady any way you look at it. After all the Gio promoting we've done over this past year and he turns out to be a popper? Kind of disheartening, but that's what you almost expect out of professional sports these days. Unless you start getting people to piss in a cup and draw blood and test twice a day every day, you aren't going to know or be able to catch them all. So we'll see where it goes, but it's not looking good at all. Less bad than the other cases, but a turd in a suit is still a turd.

Harper said...

blovy8 - There ALL USERS!!!!

thanks for the leg work. I figured as much given the average of ALL was about even (was EVERYONE going to not move at all?) Now from here on out... that'd be something.

BLW - he might not be a dog but if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. END "COUNTRY OLD MAN" PROGRAM

cass said...

Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to implicated Gio with "evidence". I mostly was hoping to knock down the idea that his 2012 could be attributed to PEDs. And when I saw the results, I felt I should share cause I didn't know what to make of them.

Obviously, improeved mechanics, pitch selection, or even honest weight-lifting could all lead to velocity gains. But if PEDs do have any effect on a pitcher with a healthy history like Gio, I imagine it'd show up in fastball velocity.

Hopefully Gio will be the rare case where definitve proof he's innocent comes out. Likely, it'll remain murky and he won't be suspended, but we'll never know. Quite possibly more evidence will come out and then he'll admit. He sure has taken a hard line so far - it'll be pretty easy to nail him if anyone can connect him to visitng the guy in question. He didn't go for any "I went there, but all I got was legal supplements" type stuff.

I want to believe Gio, but I also have to be realistic and not let my memories of attending his complete game shutout last year cloud my head. I am not exactly a PED-hawk, but it is true that there's been testing for years and the players all know it's cheating now. No excuses anymore, really.

Todd3334 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd3334 said...

This Braves fan is very happy about this news. I'm also appreciative to have a farm system stocked with arms. I didn't know the Nationals were so thin in depth. If Gio gets the 50 game ban, no doubt your chances of winning the division will be reduced, as the Braves will have quality pitching all season long.

blovy8 said...

Unless there's more evidence, I doubt Gio would get suspended. Those were not banned substances listed in the journal, even if Budlite Selig doesn't believe his dad's story. The larger issue is whether this will affect him.

A Fly Moses said...

Obviously, I have no idea if he took PEDs or not. But it's a little annoying when the headline people are seeing is "Gonzalez linked to PEDs", when the Miami New Times article doesn't link him to PEDs in any way. A-Rod and a few others are, in the doctor's notes, linked to HGH and IGF-1, while Gonzalez was linked to a protein that doesn't contain any banned substances. To me this isn't a real "innocent until proven guilty" situation--it's more "innocent since nothing has even actually been alleged."

BlueLoneWolf said...

So what's the actual lingo in terms of what Gio himself actually did or received? I'm hearing a lot of stuff about the fact that whatever was given in his case isn't against any rules or anything, but is he going to be- as Harper and I have somewhat indicated- guilty by association? Or is he actually guilty or what?

BlueLoneWolf said...

This is apparently the mentions of Gio in the notebooks, by the way:

Froggy said...

I guess it would be easy to say this clinic was up to 'no good' because known PED users were on their books. Not condoning the use of banned or illegal substances by any means, but it is hilarious in a not funny way how people will draw conclusions and make accusations of guilt by association then try and caveat their opinions later as if they don't do harm in themselves. It's a lot harder to put the toothpaste back in the tube afterwards.

I am confused as to what bothers me more, the potential for this to be true or the the realization that this an unfortunate by-product of our social media based, self-absorbed society and a testament to some humongous egos in the game that really think they can get away with anything. But hey, baseball is a business, and investigative journalism is a business too.

I feel for Gio as he is such a genuinely nice kid who regardless of the outcome has just had his brand degraded a little.

Anonymous said...

I think the only reason Lohse would sign with the Nationals is that when Gio comes back the Nats have 6 pitchers and could would likely need to move one. A player traded during the season does not get a draft pick protection the following year (like Grienke).

So where resigning with the Cardinals could put him in the same situation next year, the Nationals could be a situation where he is more certain to be a true free agent.

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