Now that he is leaving the Orioles, Mike Gonzalez is pitching like the player the Orioles thought they were acquiring in December of 2009.
No, this is not the new Oriole way.
That player was coming off a season with Atlanta where he pitched to a 2.42 ERA and gave up just 56 hits with 80 strikeouts over 74 1/3 innings.
Now that he is heading out of Baltimore, Gonzalez looks like that pitcher again. Before we go any further I can make a prediction and feel good about it coming true. Gonzalez will blow away some Yankees or Red Sox hitters in October and at least one fan will write to this blog wondering how the Orioles ever "gave up on him."
You know that is going to happen.
It will probably be one of the same fans that were saying they'd drive him to the airport if he was traded a few months ago. Fans wanted him released at times last year and this year.
Gonzalez pitched poorly and/or was hurt for most of his two years in Baltimore. But it's clear why they liked him in the first place and gave him millions. Still, trading him is fine. I couldn't imagine him coming back to the team next year. It's time to move on.
Gonzalez seemed to be a popular teammate in the clubhouse and he was very professional with reporters. He never ducked out after a bad outing and never backed down or avoided answering any questions at any time.
Some fans thought he pitched poorly because he has bad mechanics. He is pitching well now with those same poor mechanics. It was never about that.
So Gonzalez and the Orioles part ways. The business of baseball goes on.
I will root for him to get those New York or Boston hitters out in a few weeks and then patiently wait for some fans to wish he was still here.