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Gio Gonzalez

Nats Trade Four Top Prospects For The Lefty Now Known As Nat Gio

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.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. JDP

    December 22, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Nats instantly become a wildcard contender. No, they were not before.

    Prospects are prospects for a reason. They aren’t proven. Norris had a bad year this past year and was blocked by Ramos anyways. I guess we could have traded him for someone else though. Milone never blew me away either. I liked Peacock and Cole looks to be a stud. Still, none of them are sure things. We did just draft two more pitchers also who are ALSO top ten prospects.

    Steep price? Of course. But that’s the market. Everyone was criticizing Rizzo for not making moves and now he makes one. Took some guts.

  2. JDP

    December 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Also, Milone is not a top 10 prospect. Not according to Baseball America at least.

  3. Jamie Mottram

    December 22, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Good stuff. One more thing worth mentioning: Nat Gio is under team control for four years.

  4. ILM

    December 22, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Only part I dont like is giving up Cole. but in general I like it. need Gio to settle down in the NL, which I think he will. Just crazy that the Natinals are making big moves



  5. WFY

    December 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I’m still trying to figure out the Fielder love. He’s a DH and he’ll get a big contract somewhere and be old for 60% of it.

  6. trevor

    December 22, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    see the following article for why this is a very good trade.

    hindsight may prove otherwise, but it seems like the nats tapped a strength (talent-rich farm system) to balance a weakness (starting pitching).

    if only the orioles could be so blessed…

  7. Puttz

    December 22, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Not sure about giving up Peacock and Cole. It does say that the Nats are trying to contend this year which I like.

  8. Phil

    December 22, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    The only thing I’m uneasy about is we gave up 4 of our top 10 prospects away to Billy Beane.

  9. Bulworth

    December 22, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Baffling. Didn’t understand the pursuit of Buerhle either. Had pretty good pitching for a lot of last year, didn’t we, even without 37 for most of it. We couldn’t hit. We need hitting. Get some hitters, please.

  10. JDP

    December 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Also have to give props to Rizzo for drafting those prospects we traded today. Developed a source of strength for the team. Good job.

  11. TheYellowSlant

    December 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    You know how many times guys are in the top 10 team prospect lists and completely flame out? A lot. Did everyone suddenly forget that A.J. Cole and Derek Norris haven’t sniffed the majors, and that Peacock and Milone just did, for a month?

    The fact the we get Nat Gio for FOUR more years is ridiculous. There’s a reason guys like him don’t get traded while being under so much team control. Good job on the Nats to take advantage of another Oakland restock.

  12. Jim Ed

    December 22, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    I likes it!

    I hate giving up AJ Cole, because the sky is the limit for him. But Gio is going to be one hell of a #3, and despite giving up three top prospects, the farm system still has excellent depth in pitching. This instantly makes the Nats a legitimate playoff contender for next year. Add Prince Fielder and we could conceivably challenge for the NL East title.

    Between the turds that are/will be the Redskins, Wizards, and Mason Patriots respective seasons, this is just the news I needed to stave off sports depression. Seriously, three years ago, who the hell would have thought that the Nationals would be the DC team with the brightest future right now?

  13. illformula

    December 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    not sure how the Nats become an instant wild card contender now, given the current state of ATL and PHL, and what FL has done this offseason. i guess the stars could align and surprise me…

    and Prince isn’t signing in the NL for the amount of money Boras is asking for. I know it will never happen, but i’d love to see him pepper balls off the warehouse in Baltimore in the future.

  14. d$

    December 22, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    My reaction was pretty much yours Jamie… not sure what to think yet…

    On the one hand, we clearly have a couple of years until our best crop of prospects mature. And four of or more promising prospects for a player whose numbers are a bit deceptive seems an unwise tradeoff. Seems unlikely that this really pushes us into playoff territory (though JDP probably knows more than me).

    On the other hand, the guy definitely seems solid. He’s young enough to still be in his prime just as the Harper-Rendon crew start get to the age where they hit their ceiling. And four quarters for a dollar is often a smart exchange.

    I’m taking a wait-and-see view on this trade for now.

  15. Jamie Mottram

    December 23, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    Great link, trevor. Thank you.

    Anyone else picking up a Lucky Luciano from Boardwalk Empire vibe off of Gio?

  16. The Moose

    December 23, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    In the end, this is a solid deal for both sides, IMO. Nats get their front-line guy, A’s reload with pitching prospects.

    Prospects are prospects. They are prospective players, and sometimes those don’t work out. Nats gave up guys that weren’t going to help them this year for a guy who definitely will.

    Besides, this team can scout and draft pretty well, and I’m sure they can reload through future drafts.

    Oh, and the fact that Lannan has gone from the Opening Day guy in ’09/’10 to the penciled-in fourth or fifth starter this year tells a lot about how far this team has gone, re-building wise.

  17. d$

    December 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    or about lannan

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