Gio Gonzalez traded to the Nationals

Washington Nationals make a big trade, acquire Gio Gonzalez

12/22/11 in MLB   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

One of the most-coveted young pitchers is on the move. The Oakland Athletics will reportedly send 26-year-old Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals in exchange for four prospects. 

The A's will get right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, catcher Derek Norris and left-hander Tommy Milone in the deal.

Gonzalez was so attractive to pitching-thirsty teams because he is young, good and affordable. In 2010 he went 16-12 for an offensively-deficient team, with a 3.12 ERA and made his first All-Star Game. Gonzalez in only in his first year of being arbitration-eligible, and will likely only command about $4 million next season.

Gonzalez told the Associated Press on the phone that the is "99 percent done" and that it was just pending a physical.

For the Nationals the key to the trade is Peacock, who went 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA last season pitching in Double-A and Triple-A. Milone actually pitched five games in the big leagues last season, posting a 3.81 ERA. Cole is far from the big leagues, as he pitched in low-A last year, going 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA.

Norris struggled to hit for average at Double-A Harrisburg last year, posting just a .210 average, though he hit 20 home runs.

The A's appear to be in full-on rebuilding mode. Earlier this month they dealt another promising young starter, Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks for prospects.

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12/22/11   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

I see what the Nationals are doing here, as they're dreaming of a top three of Strasburg-Jordan Zimmermann-Gonzalez in the rotation. Gonzalez has been impressive the last two years, but he's leaving the Oakland Mausoleum, and he walks a lot of batters (lead the league this year, 2nd last). That's a concern. It's also risky because of the sheer amount of prospects given up. All four of them were just rated by John Sickels as top 10 prospects in the Nationals system, which is pretty deep. Peacock had a breakout year, and Cole projects as a possible #1 starter, even though he's a bit anyway. Milone's ceiling is lower, but he can be a solid #4 for a while. Norris, meanwhile, is a low batting average, high OBP (.367 despite the lower BA), good power guy with solid defensive skills. Make no mistake, this is a very nice haul for Oakland, and although I can see why the Nationals did it, this trade is definitely an aggressive, risky move.