Gonzales signed a two-year, $1.9 million contract with the Mariners on Thursday, Jon Heyman of FancredSports.com reports. This is somewhat surprising, as Gonzales isn't eligible for arbitration yet, but the Mariners were apparently pleased with what they saw from the southpaw in his first full season in the majors in 2018. While he faded somewhat down the stretch, the 26-year-old finished the year with a 4.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 145:32 K:BB across 29 starts (166.2 innings). He figures to fill a middle rotation spot again in 2019.
Gonzales allowed two hits and a walk while striking out six across five scoreless innings Thursday against the Rangers. He did not factor into the decision. Gonzales ended his breakout 2018 campaign on a strong note, finding the strike zone with 50 of his 70 pitches while holding the Rangers without an extra-base hit. The 26-year-old found his footing in his first full season at the major-league level, ending the season with a 4.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 145 batters across 166.2 innings.
Gonzales (13-9) allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three across six scoreless innings to earn the win Saturday against the Rangers. Gonzales didn't allow a runner to pass first base throughout his six innings of work, and he turned in his sixth scoreless start of the season. He needed just 78 pitches to record the 18 outs but was limited due to workload concerns. Prior to this season, Gonzales had not surpassed 40 innings at the major-league level, but he has turned in a respectable 4.12 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 161.2 innings in a breakout campaign.
Gonzales threw five innings in a no-decision against the Angels on Sunday, giving up three earned runs on six hits, striking out six and walking two in Seattle's eventual 4-3 defeat. The young left-hander had been in a rough patch for much of August, but he's posted decent stat lines his last two starts and has a 4.28 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP through 155.2 innings on the season. He threw 84 pitches in this contest, and the Mariners have said they don't plan on letting him throw more than 100 for the rest of the season. They're monitoring his workload in his first full season since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016, so this is probably about as deep into a game as he should be expected to work for the duration of the season.
Gonzales will see his pitch count carefully monitored during his remaining starts, David Gottlieb of MLB.com reports. "I don't think you're going to see us extend him out to 100 pitches or anything like that," manager Scott Servais said. "But I think it is important he continues to finish out the season, finish out the month of September. This is uncharted waters for him." The lefty fired a modest 66 pitches through five innings last Tuesday against the Padres, and Servais seems to imply that this will be par for the course for what remains of the regular season. Now having logged 150.2 innings in 2018, Gonzales is only six away from the most he's ever thrown in his professional career. Consequently, the team wants to be cautious, especially considering this is Gonzales' first full season since April 2016 Tommy John surgery.