Gonzalez, Nationals Agree To Five-Year Extension

3:01pm: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports (on Twitter) that the deal is worth $42MM, and the two option years could raise the value to $65MM.

12:49pm: The Nationals and Gio Gonzalez have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension, the team announced. The deal runs through 2016, with club options for 2017 and 2018, and comes less than a month after the Nationals sent four prospects to the Athletics to acquire Gonzalez. The southpaw is an ACES client.

Icon_6734553Gonzalez, 26, was eligible for arbitration for the first time as a Super Two this winter. Our projections pegged him for a $4.2MM salary in 2012. The extension will cover all four of Gonzalez's arbitration years plus one free agent year. With the two club options, the Nationals have potentially bought out three of the southpaw's free agent years.

Despite owning the rare distinction of being traded three times before making his big league debut, Gonzalez has emerged as one of the game's best young hurlers in recent years. He's coming off his strongest season to date, having recorded a 3.12 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in 32 starts. Despite leading the league in walks, the lefty earned his first All-Star berth and set a career high with 202 innings pitched. 

When we looked at Gonzalez as an extension candidate last April, we mentioned that similar pitchers like Jon Lester, Ricky Romero, and Yovani Gallardo had signed five-year contracts worth approximately $30MM in recent years. Those deals also covered the pitchers' last four years of team control plus one free agent year, however none qualified as a Super Two. Gonzalez figures to command a slightly higher guaranteed salary, and MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith believes $38MM or so is fair (Twitter link).

With Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg under team control through 2015 and 2016, respectively, the top of the Nationals' rotation is set for the next half-decade. The club still has six unsigned arbitration-eligible players as our Arbitration Tracker shows: Tyler Clippard, Jesus Flores, Tom Gorzelanny, John Lannan, Mike Morse, and Zimmermann.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

85 Responses to Gonzalez, Nationals Agree To Five-Year Extension Leave a Reply

  1. diesel2410 4 years ago


  2. Lights415 4 years ago

    I wish Gio was still with the A’s :(

    • bayareabeast 4 years ago

      im sure you wish alot of players were still with the a’s

      • diesel2410 4 years ago

        But instead they have Coco Puffs

      • don’t worry, you’ll be REAL happy in a couple of years when Peacock is in the majors…

        • FS54 4 years ago

          I think Peacock can be ready this season, so is Milone I think.

  3. FacelessGeneralManager 4 years ago

    Wow, didn’t see that happening, Thought they would at least wait and see how he is first. He is just first year art.


    • melonis_rex 4 years ago

      I’d wait on Zimmermann, but then, I’d wait on Gonzalez as well. 

      But Zimmerman, regardless of the cost, should’ve been done first. (Especially since 2011 was a down year for him). 

      • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

        why would he sign an extension coming off of a down season?

  4. BrocNessMonster 4 years ago

    Was not expecting this. Stras, Zimmerman, and Gio is going to be a good top three, and they’ll all be there for a while.

  5. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    Not surprised, but I think they rushed into this too fast. I would have waited a year for this just to see how he does in Washington, and even then I would have made Zimmermann/Zimmerman a priority. 

  6. chris_synan1 4 years ago

    Good move for a team on the verge of being a contender in a few years

    • Matt 4 years ago

      If they get Fielder then this year.

      • I totally agree Matt… right now, they could win close to 90 games and contend for the Wild Card… Fielder would put them in position to contend for the NL East title & more…

        • undocorkscrew 4 years ago

          Nah, I think people are overrating them a bit. If they sign Fielder I’d call them contenders, but right now they’re behind the Phillies and Braves on paper. It’s getting close though….

          • slider32 4 years ago

            The Phillies are getting older, with Howard out and the division getting better anything can happen.

          • melonis_rex 4 years ago

            With double wild card, its about being better than the Marlins, Giants, and Cardinals. I’d put the Nats above all 3 of those teams, even without Fielder. 

      • slider32 4 years ago

        If they get Fielder watch out!

  7. Why were they in such a hurry to do this?

    • Better now than after Cy Young award-winning season. 

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        why would strasburg’s season influence gio’s value

        • FS54 4 years ago

          really looking forward to SS’s return.

          • Jon Melton 4 years ago

            Yeah not a Nats fan but SS is special,  and a truly elite pitcher like Verlander is a joy to see unless hes pitching against your team.

          • melonis_rex 4 years ago

            Totally agree. Easily one of my favorite pitchers to watch.

            And, as a fan of an AL team, I don’t really have to worry about him pitching against my team.

  8. CommissionerBart 4 years ago

    Rizzo so frequently overpays…..I hope it is a reasonable contract. Guess we’ll know very shortly as it is likely to leak or be announced today or tomorrow.

    • FacelessGeneralManager 4 years ago

      I assume it will be similar to Romero’s, Buchholz, Cahill’s contracts?

      • Gio is arbitration eligible though, while Romero and Cahill were still on their renewable contracts.  I’d guess Gio will get another million or two.

      • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

        no way. Super two, coming off of career season, I expect much more.

  9. OaklandFan22 4 years ago

    greats move by nats this guy will be a star in the next couple of years

    • HalfSt 4 years ago

      As a Nats fan, I would be willing to have both teams prosper from the Gio trade.


  10. tdot32 4 years ago

    they should at least try him out first before they sign him to an extension.

  11. Nicely done Nats, now the trade looks just great! If he’s able to maintain velocity throughout the contract and cut down on walks, he’s a very solid starter/very solid sign!

  12. ludafish 4 years ago

    Really starting to fear the Nats. The NLEast has become an amazing division. My Marlins will be a good team baring health, and the Nats could really put it together this year, they have the talent. I personally just hope Gio maintains his high walk rate and wildness. if he puts it together i am going to hate seeing this Miami native in Miami.

    • James Attwood 4 years ago

      NL East is certainly going to be a lot tougher this year than the past few. Have to think the Marlins still have one more signing in the works though. Phillies are going to continue to give everyone fits, Nats are developing into beasts, Marlins are upgrading, and Braves, although standing pat, have created flexibility on the team to address issues as they come up.

  13. garylanglais 4 years ago

    Gotta think those 2 club options are worth close to $30 mil…

  14. MetsEventually 4 years ago

    Ollie Redux

    • melonis_rex 4 years ago

      Gio has put up more good seasons out of 3 than Ollie put up in his entire career. 

  15. James Attwood 4 years ago

    So a contract that is potentially 7/65? Wow. Those two extension years are way smaller than I would have imagined.

  16. Scott Brewer 4 years ago

    y would gonzalez sign this lengthy of a contract? He’s going to average less than $10 mil a year. until he’s 32 33. I understand the security that is attractive for this contract but if you have confidence in yourself as a pitcher which im sure he does you’re leaving a lot of money out on the table for his prime years…?

    • Probably because 42 million dollars is more than enough to retire luxuriously? Even after taxes. What are you going to do with 100 million dollars? there comes a point where being guaranteed to be getting enough money to never have to work again is worth more than possibly getting enough money to be island owning rich.

      He’s one arm injury away from having to return to the workforce in 10 years.

    • James Attwood 4 years ago

      Suddenly makes me wish the Dbacks would have pulled the trigger on the proposed deal that would have landed him in the desert.

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

       It’s similar to the contracts several other pitchers in similar situations have signed, so it’s not like it’s uncommon.  Plus he was under team control for four guaranteed years either way (it sounds like it does add two option years though), and this gives him a lot more certainty than going year to year with one year deals or even arbitration.

      • nats2012 4 years ago

        I agree MaineSox, but those pitchers are normally alittle younger so they can cash in at least one more time.

        • MaineSox 4 years ago

          Actually that’s not really the case. 

          Assuming they all have their options exercised their ages at the start of the year following their current contract expiring are as follows: Cahill 30yo, Gallardo 31yo, Lester 32yo, Danks 32yo, Romero 32yo, Buchholz 33yo. If both of Gio’s options are picked up he will be 33yo, which is at the high end of the spectrum, but it’s only one year older than three of the six other players, and the same age as Buchholz.

          (I included Danks because the age and years of control are similar, but he gets paid twice as much money as any of the rest of them over the course of their respective deals, so he doesn’t really fit as far as the money part of the contracts go.  Still don’t understand that deal.)

    • Disgustedfan 4 years ago

      Uh if somebody offered you 42 million dollars would you turn it down. The dude is set for life now.

      • comish4lif 4 years ago

        If I thought that I could reasonably get $75M or $100M or more if I chose a different route, and accept some of the risk myself, maybe I could pass up an offer of security…  but if you are asking about me, no, I could not turn down $42M, but I don’t have Gio’s talent.

  17. nats2012 4 years ago

    Wow, I really thought the extension years would be for ALOT more, nice contact for the Nats.

    • Natsfan89 4 years ago

      I’m glad we told Buehrle to pound sand. Gio at 7/65>>>>>>>Buehrle at 4/58

      • elbeisbol 4 years ago

        While I agree, Gio did cost us 4 prospects as well. 

        • Guest 4 years ago

          true true good point

        • Natsfan89 4 years ago

          Peacock and Cole are the only ones I’ll miss. Norris was never going to play in a Washington Nationals jersey and Milone throws 85.

          • NatsTown 4 years ago

            You mean Peacock and Cole I assume?

          • Natsfan89 4 years ago

            Whoops, yeah thats what I meant

  18. mauerfan 4 years ago

    Holy crap, the Nationals got a steal.  

    • TophersReds 4 years ago

      Not as big of a steal as you think. Those include his 4 arbitration years, hence he isn’t getting paid market value for every year making it look like a steal. It’s a good deal, but not a “steal”.

      • James Attwood 4 years ago

        The real “steal” part potentially comes in those team option years. If he pitches poorly, they cut him and say thanks and simply accept that they overpaid only slightly through his arbitration years to be a competitive team. If he pitches to expectations, those option years will be substantially below market value. If there’s no sort of limited NTC in this contract, the Nats are REALLY sitting pretty.

      • MaineSox 4 years ago

        This seems like a cop-out but it really is impossible to say how good this deal is at this point: if he pitches really well for the length of his deal this will end up looking like a steal because he would have got major raises through arb, but if he pitches really poorly this ends up looking pretty bad because he probably never would have even reached his average salary through arb.

        That’s just the way things are with these kind of deals though, the team is taking a chance on a potential overpay and the player is taking a chance on a potential underpay, while both get stability and cost certainty.

        • TophersReds 4 years ago

          Yep. It’s the classic security deal for a young pitcher. It’s good for both sides. Sure, he could have risked it and gone to arb and potentially made a few million more, but in the end what is $65M vs $75M? But then again, Pujols lost some credibility in StL. by taking money over legacy. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why players fuss so much over their multimillion dollar contracts. It seemed like Pujols liked StL., and they just won the WS, he definantly should have stayed for the sake of baseball at least. It’s way to difficult for teams to retain their superstars in today’s game. A la Pujols, Fielder, and soon to be Votto.

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            I have a hard time faulting Pujols (arguably the best player in the game right now) for going for the most money, and it’s especially difficult if you believe what Larussa recently said about it.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago


  19. Bret Wask 4 years ago

    I am a Nats fan but we have to be kicking ourselves after seeing Pineda go for what he went for.  Gio will cost $42M over the next 5 years, while Pineda will cost about $15M over that time and very likely offer better performance.  I know that Harper was not (and should not) have been available, but you have to wonder if the package of players they moved for Gio couldnt have gotten Pineda.  

    • TimotheusATL 4 years ago

      gio = left-handed
      phillies = left-handed
      pineda = right-handed

      not every player has the same value in every place

    • melonis_rex 4 years ago

      Gio > Pineda. 

      Pineda only has one year of work, so he comes with more risk. Also, its somewhat obvious that the Mariners were looking for one elite hitting prospect. Outside of Harper (and maybe Rendon, although he’s not on the level of Montero), the Nats don’t have that. 

      • NatsTown 4 years ago

        True, plus we cant trade Rendon until a year after he signed

  20. Wrek305 4 years ago

    This deal will end up being a bad deal, no pitching contract has ever worked with a 5 or long year deal. Anaheim’s signing of CJ will be a regret as well. For Anaheim is WS or bust because the Pujols deal is so bad.

    • melonis_rex 4 years ago

      Felix? Haren? Shields?  5+ year deals that don’t look like busts.

      It’s the free agent ones that look disasterous; this one is not.

    • NatsTown 4 years ago

      The guy is 26. Not 31. This deal will be fine. You see quality #3 pitchers get that type of money, and Gio is at least a solid 2

  21. FacelessGeneralManager 4 years ago


  22. At midnight he turns back into Oliver Perez.

  23. letsgogiants 4 years ago

    IMO, Gonzalez has a much higher talent rate than Perez. Perez had one good year, and that was in the National League. While Gonzalez has proven back to back years that he could pitch well in the American League. Walks will always be an issue with Gonzalez, but even he will have better control than Perez. I saw Gonzalez pitch regularly the last two years, and I think he will continue to improve, given the fact that he has overcome his emotions on the field and has improved his strikeouts-to-walks rate since coming up. He may not be pitching in the Colosseum anymore, but a move to the National League along with the fact that he will get more run support in Washington leads me to believe that Gonzalez will do fine in the Capital.

  24. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    Not really a good comparison, Perez was an extreme flyball pitcher but Gonzalez gets groundballs. Gio could explode at any moment and it wouldn’t surprise me, but you aren’t going to have your hands cured into fists, holding your breath as you would with Ollie. 

  25. undocorkscrew 4 years ago

    “While Gonzalez has proven back to back years that he could pitch well in the American League.”

    And in arguably the worst offensive division in the AL. Plus, he benefited from some tremendous defense these last two years. I think he’ll be fine, but I’m not expecting front of the rotation numbers for him this year….

  26. Rangersfan32 4 years ago

    Uhhhh he played in a huge park in what was arguably the worst offensive division last season.

  27. I’d say the trade did that, not the contract extension.  This extension didn’t change the fact that they still had 4 years of control, it just gave the Nats cost certainty.

  28. MaineSox 4 years ago

    Well, with two option years it would effectively give them 6 years of control instead of 4, but yeah.

  29. J.j. Miller 4 years ago

    A’s defense was terrible last yr, 2010 was amazing

  30. FS54 4 years ago

    Nats defense is not too bad either.

  31. bayareabeast 4 years ago

    peter pan does carlos gonzalez ring a bell?

  32. WolandJR 4 years ago

    Ian Desmond begs to differ.

  33. melonis_rex 4 years ago

    Put Espinosa at SS and trade for a 2B. 

    (Makes infinitely more sense than the sign Fielder crowd). 

  34. TophersReds 4 years ago

    Be happy, you got your guy locked up, Mr. igotzPEDs.

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