In the holiday spirit, the baseball offseason really seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Or maybe that is Billy Beane and the A's--as it was another week and another big arm shipped out of Oakland.
This week's winner: Gio Gonzalez.
On Thursday the thrifty A's shipped the All-Star lefty to the Washington Nationals in exchange for four prospects--most notably right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. Gonzalez went 16-12 last season with a 3.12 ERA--though he did lead the league in walks. Gonzalez is just 26, and was coveted by a number of potential trading partners. The trade gives the Nationals a top-flight top of the rotation with Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. For more analysis of the trade, check out this comment by gearhead.
Gonzalez is the second young, inexpensive pitcher dealt by the A's this month--the first being Trevor Cahill, who went to the Diamondbacks, also for prospects.
Gonzalez wasn't the only young ace dealt this week. On Saturday the Padres sent their best pitcher, Mat Latos, to the Reds in exchange for four players: Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.
My gut reaction when I saw this trade: The Padres made out like bandits. While Volquez is a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher at best, Alonso and Grandal are two of the top prospects in baseball. The two were teammates at the University of Miami and both could be impact middle-of-the-order bats. It was no secret that the Reds were looking to deal Alonso, as he is blocked at first base by 2010 N.L. MVP Joey Votto. Both Alonso and Grandal were first-round picks in the MLB Draft.
Latos, on the other hand, is a talented, established 24-year-old starter. However, he is moving from one of the largest ballparks in the country, Petco Field, to one of the smallest, the Great American
In a less-publicized trade, the Cubs sent reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds in exchange for Travis Wood and two minor leaguers. Marshall was one of the top lefties out of the bullpen last season.