While Wednesday marked the start of 2019-20 MLB free agency, which for the Los Angeles Dodgers meant the likes of David Freese, Rich Hill, Russell Martin and Hyun-Jin Ryu are no longer under contract, the team tended to other matters by adding Victor Gonzalez to their 40-man roster.
Gonzalez has been with the organization since signing as a Minor League free agent on July 2, 2012, out of Veracruz, Mexico. He was signed on the same trip when the Dodgers notably scouted — and also inked — Yasiel Puig and Julio Urias.
Gonzalez would have been eligible for this year’s Rule 5 Draft in December had he not been added to the 40-man roster.
The 23-year-old began this season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and also pitched for Double-A Tulsa before finishing the 2019 campaign with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Gonzalez was 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in eight games (five starts) for the Quakes.
He continued to fare well upon joining the Drillers, pitching to a 3-1 record and 2.23 ERA over 15 games (eight starts) before earning another promotion in late July. Gonzalez went on to appear in 15 games with Oklahoma City, sporting a 3.86 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
Gonzalez was a combined 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts against 32 walks in 38 games (13 starts) with the three affiliates. This season marked his first time pitching above the Low-A level.
Eligible players for the annual Rule 5 Draft are those who signed at 18 years of age or younger and have five seasons of experience in professional baseball. Players signed at 19 or older and have four seasons of experience are also eligible to be drafted if they were not added to a 40-man roster.
Last year the Dodgers selected the contracts of Yadier Alvarez, Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios, Keibert Ruiz and Josh Sborz, to protect from any of them possibly being selected in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. L.A lost Drew Jackson and Connor Joe, but both players were returned to the organization.
Any player selected during the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft costs $50,000 and must spend the entire ensuing season on the new club’s active roster, or be offered back to their previous team for $25,000.
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