Goodbye, A.J. Cole, Derek Norris, Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone. Hello, Gio Gonzalez.
Who were those first four guys again? Just four of the Nats’ top 10 prospects — three starting pitchers and a C/1B. All four are predicted by John Sickels, who knows stuff, to “have a good chance to enjoy successful careers.”
And who’s Gonzalez? He’s a 26-year-old lefty who put up impressive numbers with the A’s (15-9, 3.23 ERA, 171 K in 2010; 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 197 K in ’11). The advanced stats aren’t quite so pretty, though, as he walks four-plus batters/nine innings and his FIP was 3.78 and 3.64 the past two years. Who knows what moving out of pitcher-friendly Oakland and into the pitcher-friendly NL does for him.
And who knows what to think about this deal. The Nats got themselves a known quantity, a solid No. 3 starter for a rotation without many known quantities. It cost them four guys who may or may not make it someday.
I’m not sure I like it, but I am sure it says something. The Nats are trying to contend this year, finally. Let the Prince Fielder talk begin in earnest.