Last week, just days before the Mets agreed to re-sign two veteran relief pitchers, Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins, the Mets made another move to help give them more depth in the bullpen. That move was signing veteran lefty Tom Gorzelanny to a minor league contract.
Gorzelanny is a 34-year-old veteran who has bounced around the big leagues since getting called up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 and was at one point a full-time starter until being moved to the bullpen as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2009.
Gorzelanny has never been a type of pitcher who will blow things by you as he tops out in the low 90s on his fastball and isn’t really known for striking people out. But nonetheless, Gorzelanny has had some solid big league seasons in the past, both as a starter and a reliever.
This is a good signing by Sandy Alderson as Gorzelanny is a guy who can pitch as either a starter or a reliever, giving the Mets more internal options if they need to go to a spot starter in any situation. As we all saw from last season, the health of the Mets starting pitchers is not a given, so if any of the Mets starters has to miss a period of time, short-term or long-term, Gorzelanny could be a good option for manager, Terry Collins to turn to for a few starts.
Even though Gorzelanny has not started a game in the big leagues since 2013 when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, he could still go in there and start a game and give the Mets at least four to five solid innings on certain days if needed.
Even though he has struggled each of the past two seasons, Gorzelanny is still capable of being a solid pitcher who could get left-handed hitters out. He posted a 21.00 ERA last season in seven big league appearances with the Cleveland Indians but left-handed batters only batted .111 against him. And the year before that in 2015 when he was a member of the Detroit Tigers, he had an ERA of 5.95 in 48 relief appearances and opposing left-handed hitters only batted .222 of off him.
So it may have been a struggle for the soft-tossing veteran journeyman the past couple of seasons, but he has shown that he is still capable of getting left-handed hitters out. This is a huge asset the Mets need if they want to be successful in 2017 with them playing in the NL East that includes many dangerous left-handed hitters such as Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Freddie Freeman, and more.
From 2010-2014, Gorzelanny posted an ERA lower than 4.10 each season, so he has proved that he is capable of pitching at the big league level and get hitters out. It is no secret that Jerry Blevins will be the Mets primary lefty specialist out of the bullpen to begin the season, but the organization still seems uncertain on who that second lefty out of the bullpen will be.
Sure the Mets do have a few other internal options such as Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin, and Sean Gilmartin, but if Tom Gorzelanny comes into Spring Training and has a very solid one, don’t be surprised to see him on the Opening Day roster considered he has had a successful past of getting left-handed hitters out. Also, the fact that he is a 34-year-old veteran doesn’t hurt either.
This is a low-risk signing by the Mets general manager, and who knows, maybe this move could pay off in a big way during the 2017 season.