White Sox boost rotation, agree to $5M deal with Gonzalez

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CHICAGO (AP)The White Sox boosted their starting rotation, finalizing a $5 million, one-year contract with two-time All-Star Gio Gonzalez that includes a 2021 club option.

The deal announced Friday calls for a $4.5 million salary in 2020 and gives the White Sox a $7 million option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout. He can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses in 2020 based on starts: $250,000 each for 15, 20, 25 and 30.

The 34-year-old left-hander finally will get a chance to pitch for the team that took him with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft. Chicago dealt Gonzalez to Philadelphia following the 2005 season as part of the trade that sent Aaron Rowand to the Phillies for Jim Thome, then reacquired Gonzalez a year later along with Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia. The White Sox traded Gonzalez to Oakland for Nick Swisher in January 2008.

Gonzalez debuted with the Athletics in 2008 and is 130-99 with a 3.68 ERA over 12 years with Oakland (2008-11), Washington (2012-18) and Milwaukee (2018-19). He was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, when he won a career-high 21 games and had a 2.89 ERA.

Gonzalez was 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA in 17 starts and 19 appearances last season.

”We view Gio as an important addition to our pitching staff,” general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. ”He brings an impressive resume to our club as a veteran left-hander who has enjoyed success and should have a positive impact on our younger pitchers in terms of competing, battling and helping us win games at the major league level.”

Chicago went 72-89 in its seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since its 2005 World Series title. But with young players establishing themselves in the majors and promising prospects in the minors, the White Sox expect to contend for a postseason spot.

Right-hander Lucas Giolito went from the highest ERA among qualifiers in 2018 to his first All-Star season, going 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA in 29 starts.

The White Sox could have a solid rotation if Michael Kopech bounces back from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease progresses. Both are 23.

Chicago added All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal – Gonzalez’s teammate in Milwaukee last season – in November when he agreed to a $73 million, four-year contract. The White Sox also re-signed slugger Jose Abreu to a $50 million, three-year deal last month and acquired young slugger Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers at the winter meetings last week.

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