Report: Gonzalez chooses Brewers over Nats

Report: Gonzalez chooses Brewers over Nats
December 28, 2012, 2:30 pm
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The Nationals' options for left-handed bullpen help are dwindling after another southpaw from their 2012 staff chose to sign elsewhere.

Veteran Michael Gonzalez has come to terms on a one-year deal with the Brewers, according to's Ken Rosenthal. He joins Tom Gorzelanny, another member of the Nationals' bullpen who migrated to Milwaukee this winter, and Sean Burnett, who got a two-year deal with the Angels.

Gonzalez had interest in returning to Washington next season, and the Nationals shared that interest, though apparently not enough to complete a deal. The 34-year-old posted a 3.03 ERA in 47 games, striking out 39 batters in 35 1/3 innings, and becoming a popular figure in a clubhouse that didn't boast many veteran pitchers.

The defections of Burnett, Gonzalez and Gorzelanny leave the Nationals scrambling a bit to fortify their bullpen with left-handers. At the moment, they have only Zach Duke (re-signed after a strong season at Class AAA Syracuse and a September call-up) and Bill Bray (a former first-round pick who spent the last seven years with the Reds but returned to the Nationals this winter on a minor-league deal).

There are a handful of unsigned left-handers still on the open market, most notably J.P. Howell, who has drawn interest from several clubs.

General manager Mike Rizzo could also seek to acquire a lefty via trade, especially if he ultimately re-signs first baseman Adam LaRoche and attempts to deal Michael Morse.

Even if they don't add another left-hander, the Nationals are confident in the ability of several of their right-handed relievers to retire hitters from the opposite side of the plate. Lefties hit just .170 last season against Tyler Clippard, .198 against Craig Stammen and .241 against Ryan Mattheus.