Gio Gonzalez Rumors
The Nationals were the winners of the Gio Gonzalez sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander from the A's today for a package of four well-regarded prospects: A.J. Cole, Tom Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock. Here's a look at some of the reaction and analysis of this blockbuster trade...
- The Nats didn't want to give up both Peacock and Milone but eventually acquiesced, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Comak points out that the Nats have found themselves with a left-handed starter who is younger and less expensive than their first target this offseason, Mark Buehrle.
- Washington's recent strong drafts gave the team enough prospect depth to make this deal possible, notes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Nationals "improved their rotation to the point where they may be a contender," Heyman writes.
- "I don’t know how Oakland could have done better,” a scout tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “They got the right set of names....Quality and depth.”
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) that Peacock reminds him of former Twins starter Brad Radke. "I'm not sure that in two years, Peacock will [be] better than Gio," the evaluator said.
- The A's have made two "brilliant hauls" in their trades of Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, opines MLB.com's Tom Singer (Twitter link). The A's received Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Cahill and Craig Breslow two weeks ago.
- ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) is not overly impressed with Gonzalez, believing his success to have been at least in part due to the pitcher-friendly Oakland ballpark and the Athletics' defense. It seems as if Law considers the trade a win for the A's, calling their return haul "a substantial reward" and praising Cole as the new top prospect in Oakland's system.
The Athletics will trade Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals in a deal that further depletes Oakland's pitching staff and adds to Washington's potentially dominant rotation. The deal sends Gonzalez and minor league right-hander Robert Gilliam to Washington in exchange for four highly-regarded young players, including three of the Nationals' top ten prospects: right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, left-hander Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris. ESPN.com's Keith Law broke the news on Twitter, with Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reporting Gilliam's inclusion in the deal.
Gonzalez (pictured) will join Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann atop an impressive-looking Nationals' rotation that also figures to include Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan. Gonzalez, 26, is under team control through 2015. He has reached the 200-inning plateau in each of the past two seasons without posting an ERA above 3.23.
However, no MLB pitcher has walked more opponents than Gonzalez in the past two seasons and he's about to get expensive through arbitration (projected 2012 salary of $4.2MM). While most teams --the Nationals included -- can stomach a $4.2MM salary for an established, young left-handed starter, the A's haven't resolved their stadium situation and operate under a more limited payroll.
Without Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, two of the 40 MLB pitchers to throw 200 innings this past season, Oakland's rotation will look considerably different in 2012. Brandon McCarthy, Guillermo Moscoso, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Tyson Ross and Josh Outman are possible starters for the A's, who entered the offseason with a deeper rotation than most.
Gilliam, 24, was an eighth-round draft pick for the A's in the 2009 draft. The right-hander has a 4.55 ERA, a 3.07 K/BB ratio and has 270 strikeouts in 287 innings of pro ball, with his highest level of advancement being Class A Stockton last season.
Peacock (#3), Cole (#4) and Norris (#9) all rank among the Nationals' top ten prospects, according to Baseball America's latest rankings. Peacock emerged as "one of the most exciting power arms in the high minors" this year, BA reports. The 23-year-old posted a 2.39 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in the upper minors before getting called up to the Nationals and appearing in three games.
Cole posted a 4.04 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 89 innings at Class A this past season. The 2010 fourth rounder is just 19 years old and stands 6'4". Milone, 24, made his MLB debut this past season, posting a 3.81 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in five starts with the Nationals. He spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he had a 3.22 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 148 1/3 innings.
Norris, 22, entered the 2011 season as the 72nd best prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. He responded by posting a .210/.367/.446 line in his first stint at Double-A, adding 20 homers and 77 walks.
Though Nationals GM Mike Rizzo would no doubt have preferred to acquire Gonzalez for lesser prospects, it was clear from the beginning of the offseason that Gonzalez would require a substantial return. The Red Sox, Rangers, Marlins, Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers and Mariners were also linked to Gonzalez this winter. Earlier in the offseason, A's GM Billy Beane obtained minor leaguers Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook for Cahill and Craig Breslow.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
2:44pm: The Red Sox are trying to get Gonzalez and Bailey in a "monster deal," tweets Rosenthal. The Rays are also in on Bailey and the Nationals are the team to beat on Gonzalez, Rosenthal reports.
2:14pm: It looks like the Nationals and Red Sox are the finalists for Gonzalez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Peter Gammons of MLB Network tweets that the Red Sox or Nationals will likely acquire Gonzalez today. Both Heyman and Gammons suggest the Nationals are the favorites to obtain the left-hander.
1:10pm: The A's are moving closer to a Gio Gonzalez trade, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (all links go to Twitter). The bidding is down to two teams, one of which is the Nationals. The Marlins and Red Sox may also be involved, but the Rangers are not. The Yankees and A's never built momentum toward a deal involving Gonzalez, Olney reports. The Mariners had discussed Gonzalez and it's not clear if they're involved in the current trade talks.
The Nationals are believed to be willing to include multiple top prospects for Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Prospects such as Brad Peacock, Destin Hood, Eury Perez and A.J. Cole could be available to the Athletics. Derek Norris is in the discussion, Olney writes.
Gonzalez is under team control through 2015 and has reached the 200-inning plateau in each of the past two seasons without posting an ERA above 3.23. However, no MLB pitcher has walked more opponents in the past two seasons than Gonzalez and he's about to get expensive through arbitration (projected 2012 salary of $4.2MM).
Roy Oswalt is believed to have drawn some interest from the Red Sox, Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers and Twins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, Oswalt is waiting for trade candidates such as Gio Gonzalez to be dealt before agreeing to a contract.
Interest in the 34-year-old right-hander spiked with yesterday’s news that he’s looking for a one-year deal. However, the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish and already have a full rotation, so their interest in Oswalt may be fading. The Yankees seem to have prioritized others and the Twins may not be able to afford the Bob Garber client.
4:48pm: The Nationals are believed to be willing to include multiple top prospects for Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are obviously off-limits, but prospects such as Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, Destin Hood, Eury Perez and A.J. Cole could be available.
WEDNESDAY, 11:57am: Trying to trade for Gonzalez is the Nationals' top priority, says MLB.com's Bill Ladson. According to Ladson, Brad Peacock and Derek Norris are two of the players the Athletics are looking at in a possible four-for-one deal. Nothing is imminent yet, as the Blue Jays and Red Sox are also "heavily in the mix."
MONDAY, 7:22pm: The Nationals are pushing hard for Gio Gonzalez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The A's and Nationals are discussing a possible four-for-one deal involving the left-hander. The Marlins, Red Sox and Rangers are also showing strong interest in Gonzalez, according to Rosenthal.
The Nationals, who have Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang in their projected 2012 rotation, are poised to contend before long. The addition of Gonzalez would give manager Davey Johnson someone who has reached the 200 inning plateau in each of the past two season without posting an ERA over 3.23 in that time. However, obtaining him from the A's won't be easy. Gonzalez has many suitors and Oakland's asking price remains high.
MLBTR projects a $4.2MM salary for Gonzalez in 2012, the first of his four seasons as an arbitration eligible player. While most teams --the Nationals included -- can stomach a $4.2MM salary for an established, young left-handed starter, the penny-pinching A's won't necessarily be able to afford Gonzalez through 2015 unless they resolve their stadium situation soon.
The latest news and notes out of the AL East:
- The Rays have talked about trading B.J. Upton but will likely end up keeping him, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider link). While Upton is becoming more expensive, the Rays would have difficulty replacing his offensive and defensive production on the cheap.
- The Red Sox are "kicking around their preference" between trying to sign Hiroki Kuroda or trade for Gio Gonzalez, writes Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- WEEI's Alex Speier takes an in-depth look at the process of converting relievers to starters, with a focus on the Red Sox. Speier notes that even though the Sox are preparing Daniel Bard to start, it doesn't necessarily mean the right-hander will end up in the rotation.
- Baseball America published their choices for the Rays' top ten prospects today, and though there are some surprises, the name atop the list isn't one of them.
- For a few Orioles items, check out our post from earlier this morning.
The Blue Jays bid over $50MM for Yu Darvish, falling just short of the Rangers' $51.7MM bid, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Here's the latest on the Blue Jays’ division, starting with a right-hander who spent three up-and-down seasons in Toronto...
- Several teams are kicking the tires on acquiring A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees will have to absorb significant salary to make a deal and Burnett can veto trades to ten teams per year, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
- The Yankees bid less than $20MM for Darvish, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette explains the team's shrinking pro scouting department to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. "In an effort to make an impact on the franchise, I can argue that the scouts are most valuable to a team at the amateur level,” Duquette said. “They can have a bigger impact on this organization.”
- Former Rays catcher Toby Hall has decided to retire, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The 36-year-old spent seven seasons with the Rays and last played in the Major Leagues in 2008.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears the Rays are one of the teams that has asked the Padres about Anthony Rizzo (Twitter link). However, the Padres, who have been flooded with interest, aren't matching up that well with the Rays at this point, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- MLB executives expect Gio Gonzalez to be traded relatively soon now that Darvish is no longer available, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Red Sox are among Gonzalez’s suitors.
Some young starting pitchers appeal to the Royals as possible trade candidates, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Royals had interest in Mat Latos before the Padres sent him to Cincinnati and they still like Gio Gonzalez, the highly-coveted A’s left-hander.
However, the Royals don't want to part with outfield prospect Wil Myers or left-hander Mike Montgomery in any deal, Rosenthal reports. The Royals like the potential that young starters like Montgomery provide and believe Myers has the potential to hit in the middle of the order in the Major Leagues.
Royals GM Dayton Moore traded for Jonathan Sanchez and re-signed Bruce Chen earlier this offseason. The two southpaws join right-handers Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino in the team's projected 2012 rotation. Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow and Everett Teaford are also candidates to start for manager Ned Yost.
The Athletics have already traded one of their young starting pitchers this offseason, but it wasn't Gio Gonzalez even though his name is popular on the trade rumor circuit. Here's the latest on the 26-year-old left-hander...
- The Mets are unlikely to pursue Gonzalez according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, with one team official saying talks never moved passed the preliminary phase. “Nothing serious,” said the official, with another source saying they are "unlikely" to continue pursuing the southpaw.
- Martino says the Athletics asked the Yankees for Jesus Montero and top pitching prospects in exchange for Gonzalez when they discussed his availability earlier this winter.
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have to be wary of an American League where the competition continues to get stiffer. With the Albert Pujols-led Angels and the improving Blue Jays aiming to contend for the postseason, the Red Sox may need to continue making moves to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight year, says Cafardo. Here are some highlights from his piece:
- Other GMs say Ben Cherington has been active in discussing potential moves. The Red Sox have looked into a number of pitchers on the trade market, including Gio Gonzalez, Jair Jurrjens, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks. According to Cafardo, the Sox probably don't have the caliber of prospects the Athletics want for Gonzalez.
- An AL executive on how the Rays might fill their roster holes: "They could just continue to bottom-feed and keep all of their pitching. There's that January market that they've done very well with, and as long as they keep making the right decisions, their pitching is so good it will keep them in that playoff hunt every year."
- Cafardo is skeptical that the Cubs are legit contenders for Prince Fielder, saying right now the team's mindset is "let’s not spend until we’re ready to spend and right now we're not ready to spend." It makes sense then that Cafardo also hears Chicago's bid for Yu Darvish was low, as detailed in MLBTR's Darvish rumors.
- The Astros seem willing to take on some salary in a Wandy Rodriguez trade. We heard during the Winter Meetings that Houston didn't want to eat any of Wandy's contract to move him, so perhaps the club modified that stance after Jeff Luhnow took over as GM.
- One NL scout who watched Joel Zumaya pitch this week said the righty "didn't have much of a breaking ball but threw 93-96 on his fastball. Somebody will bite on him."