A’s Ship Gio Gonzalez Out Of AL West

By MJ Lloyd

While the Angels and Rangers are throwing around cash like rappers at a strip club, the A’s have gone into complete rebuild mode. Again. Billy Beane already traded pitcher Trevor Cahill to Arizona for top pitching prospect Jarrod Parker and shipped pitcher Gio Gonzalez out of the American League on Thursday. Beane traded the 26-year-old left hander to the Washington Nationals for a prospect package of RHP A.J. Cole, C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Peacock and LHP Tom Milone. While that haul is four players Brad Pitt has never heard of, it is four of the Nationals top 10 prospects, at least according to John Sickels.

Gonzalez joins his fourth team in his young career after posting back-to-back sub 3.25 ERA seasons in Oakland’s spacious park. The advanced metrics (FIP, xFIP, tERA, SIERA) aren’t quite as high on him though. Gonzalez has the ability to strikeout plenty of batters but his less than ideal control has led to just a 1.98 career K/BB ratio. The Angels might send Gonzalez a basket of farewell muffins because they only hit .214/.260/.332 against Gonzalez since he arrived in Oakland in 2008.

The prospect haul, and it’s a good one, is headlined by Cole. Cole has the potential to be a front line starter in a couple of years to anchor the A’s rotation with Parker. Norris has the potential to be a low average, power hitting catcher and Peacock and Milone are probably bullpen arms with Peacock’s ceiling being a little higher than that.

It’s a big package to pay but the Nationals might think they’re competitive right now. They did sign Mark DeRosa, after all. The A’s are collecting some nice prospects but the key word there is “potential.” Let’s not suddenly forget about the Brandon Woods of the world. I’d still give the A’s a big win on this deal though. They have to catch some lightning in a bottle to compete against the wallets of the Angels and Rangers.