The Oakland A’s finally dealt their All-Star lefty Gio Gonzalez on Thursday to the Washington Nationals. The A’s sent Gonzalez, 26, to a Nationals team that now looks poised to contend for a playoff spot next year.
With Gonzalez, the Nationals beef up their already formidable rotation with a proven starter who has won 31 games over the past two years. He went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA with 197 strikeouts this season for the Athletics.
Oakland, mired in a tough stadium situation, gets four young prospects in return for Gonzalez. Those four prospects include right-handed pitchers Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole, lefty Tom Milone, and catcher Derek Norris.
Peacock is considered major league ready. He should compete for a spot in Oakland’s starting rotation this spring.
The 23-year old righty went a combined 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA between Washington’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates this year. He received a call-up from the Nationals, going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA over 12.0 big-league innings of work.
Along with Peacock, Milone is also considered to be ready for the big leagues. The 24-year old southpaw made five starts for the Nationals this past season, going 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA over 26.0 innings of work. Like Peacock, Milone enjoyed success at the minor league level, posting a 12-6 record with a 3.22 ERA and 9.4 K/9 with Washington’s Triple-A team this year.
Cole, 19, is a young player with some strong promise to be a solid starter in the future. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, Cole was a late addition to the deal. He went 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA over 89.0 innings this year with Washington’s Single-A affiliate.
The A’s scored one offensive player in the the deal with catcher Derek Norris. Norris, 22, entered the 2010 seasons as Baseball America’s #38 prospect in baseball only to fall to #78 entering the 2011 season.
He played in 104 games this year with Washington’s Double-A team, posting a .210/.367/.446 slash line with 20 HR and 46 RBIs. His low batting average isn’t exactly encouraging and his stock value has been on the decline rather than on the rise. Still, Oakland sees a pretty good option in Norris, who was once considered a top catching prospect in baseball.
The Nationals scored with Gonzalez, who will be missed in Oakland, but had to pay a hefty price for the young southpaw. The A’s, who are continuing on with their overhaul, scored big with this latest deal, too. Oakland got four of Washington’s top 10 prospects and at the end of the day, that’s not bad.
Good job, Billy.
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