World Baseball Classic Update: Gio Gonzalez upgrades the USA rotation

With Kris Medlen and Andy Pettitte out and Justin Verlander still making up his mind, the Team USA rotation was down to R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Derek Holland. Hardly a rotation of slouches (you could do very well in MLB with a front three that looked like that), but not exactly the names to strike fear into the hearts of the world’s hitters.

Well, yesterday, Team USA got an upgrade: Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals. Although currently under a cloud of suspicion due to his name being on the Biogenesis papers (but apparently not linked to any banned substances), Gonzalez instantly gives Team USA’s rotation a good shot in the arm. He won 21 games last season while leading the NL in strikeouts per 9 IP and fewest HR per 9 IP. He’s left-handed, young, and a two-time All-Star.

And, more importantly, it gives Team USA two aces, not just one, as well as two left-handed starters, not just one.

And, what’s more, if Verlander decides to play, it could allow Team USA to have a rotation of Verlander, Dickey, Gonzalez, Vogelsong and Holland.

And that rotation would strike fear into the hearts of the world’s hitters.


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