WASHINGTON — Good news, Nationals fans: starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez will be back in 2018 thanks to the performance incentives he hit on Tuesday night.
After starting the game feeling under the weather, Gonzalez struck out his first six Atlanta hitters and eclipsed 180 innings for 2017, enough to trigger a vesting option for $12 million in 2018.
This continues his best season in a Nationals uniform, as he entered Tuesday night with a 14-6 record and an ERA of 2.50.
When Gonzalez signed his five-year contract with the Washington Nationals in 2012, it was for an average of more than $8 million per year for a potential frontline starter.
Oh, how the market has changed.
Since then, two of his teammates in the rotation have signed deals that average $25 million and $30 million annually.
And while Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, respectively, have outperformed Gonzalez, Gio is an undeniable value at $12 million.
Unfortunately, this feel-good story doesn’t come with a happy ending. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run off Gio Gonzalez and Julio Teheran threw seven shutout innings as the Braves beat the Nationals 8-0 on Tuesday night. Gonzalez allowed five earned runs on seven hits in five innings and struck out eight.
But even as he drops to 14-7 on the season, Nats fans can look forward to his usually steady production in the middle of the rotation next season.