Tom Gordon has had a noteworthy career, but for today, the discussion is going to focus on three players who have a connection to Tom Gordon that most do not realize. Gio Gonzalez, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain were all selected with draft picks received by their respective teams as compensation for losing Tom Gordon.
Gio Gonzalez, along with Ray Liotta, was drafted by the White Sox in the 2004 June draft after the White Sox capitalized on their one-year contact with Gordon by offering him arbitration and seeing him leave to the New York Yankees where he provided two great seasons of set up relief. Gonzalez is best known at the moment for being involved in the Nick Swisher trade, which explains why he is now with Oakland. Gonzalez has an uninspiring major league experience this season, but has fared well in Triple-A with over a strikeout an inning, though he will have to get the walks under control.
After the 2005 season, with Gordon’s contract up, instead of remaining with the Yankees as many aging but still productive veterans seem to do, Gordon instead chose to go back to closing games and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. That signing netted the Yankees a pair of first round compensation picks, the 21st and 41st overall picks. With the 21st, the Yankees selected Ian Kennedy and grabbed Joba Chamberlain with the 41st. Both were inspired picks and have come along much faster than their relative draft position brethren.
Obviously Joba Chamberlain‘s story and skills are well enough known at this point, but Ian Kennedy has seemed to lose a bit of his future luster after a seemingly poor showing this year in the bigs. However, Kennedy is still young and still has a tremendous minor league track record to his credit so patience is needed with him. We’ll see if the Yankees are willing to exercise some after missing the post season for the first time since 1993.
That all three of these hurlers came as a result of compensation for Tom Gordon (and all three also involved the Yankees) makes for a unique reason to follow their careers as the they progress from here on out.