Nats pay the price, get Gio Gonzalez from the A’s


Everyone thought Billy Beane was nuts when he asked the Yankees for Jesus Montero and top pitching prospects for Gio Gonzalez, but he stuck to his guns and ended up getting a monster haul for the walk prone left-hander. Keith Law reports that Gonzalez has been traded to the Nationals for four prospects: catcher Derek Norris and right-handers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone. Peacock, Cole, and Norris were recently ranked as the numbers three, four, and nine prospects in Washington’s system by Baseball America.

Since I know so many of you will ask, a comparable Yankees package would have been something like Manny Banuelos, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Austin Romine. I’m not Brad Peacock’s biggest fan, so chances are I’m underselling the comparable Yankees package a bit. There was a lot of speculation about Gio and the Yankees, but it was never much more than that. They never seemed hot on his trail, and I don’t blame them.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Jason says:

    Oh god. If we did this I would have been, excuse my language, quite peeved.
    Another well-played tactical “pass” by Cashman.

  2. Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Good, better to have someone else watch him walk the world.

    Oswalt or bust this off-season.

  3. CJ says:

    Nats still keep their top 2 prospects, must be nice. Their 3,4 are our 1,2. And they have Bryce Harper. Clearly other than montero banuelos, yanks have nothing to offer for a big player.

  4. CJ says:

    Cashman makes it sound like other teams were unreasonable asking for high prices. However he has misjudged the market. What now cash? I predict he will say “I like our team” then panic, contradict himself, and do something stupid. It sounds like he’s shopping swish around, what’s that about?

    • Brian S. says:

      Indians being interested in him=/=shopping him around.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Wow, you’re really off the mark. When’s the last time Cashman made a panic move? The Indians (and others) called about Swisher, he wasn’t being shopped.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        “When’s the last time Cashman made a panic move?”

        Burnett? Vazquez?

        • Jesse says:

          Burnett wasn’t a panic move. At the time, that was the right move to make.

          • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

            I’d have signed Burnett to the same contract back then.

            Vazquez wasn’t a panic move. It was probably a dumb move for the wrong guy (and people had plenty of stats to throw around indicating that Javy WASN’T the wrong guy at the time), and Vizcaino has a better chance than most of being the lottery ticket that worked out.

            In some ways, Soriano could be considered a panic move. Maybe.

            • Jesse says:

              I can see Vazquez not being a panic move. Both times he was coming off very good years–especially the season before the second trade–and they didn’t give up too much both times. Plus, you can’t have too much starting pitching.

              I would argue though that Soriano was a panic move. Yankees lost on Cliff Lee, and they had a stacked bullpen already, it was a move, IMO, that really didn’t need to be made.

            • MannyGeee says:

              Welllllll I don’t know if I would have signed him to 5 years with his previous injury history, but I am in no way arguing that signing AJ in 2009 wasn’t the right move…

              It most certainly was the play at the time, hands down.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            Says you. It’s was clear he was nothing more than an league average pitcher who they paid a 60% premium to because of his “electric” stuff. Coming out of 2008 that much was clear. They fell in love with an isolated K rate and paid dearly for it.

            • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

              I’m assuming this refers to Burnett.

              That’s not panic. That’s falling in love with the “good AJ” at a time he was more likely to show up than he would years later, which many of us did, and hoping the Yankees would be able to better support the warts. Back then, I’d have agreed with that.

              I’d also sign up for one championship during the early part of his contract.

              20 years ago, George Steinbrenner would fall in love with .500 pitchers and think they’d all do better in pinstripes. Why I mentioned that, I have no clue.

            • Evan3457 says:

              Actually, it was between AJ and Lowe for the next best pitcher on the market that year. The Yanks made the decision that they needed another free-agent starter to back up Sabathia. Of the remaining starters, AJ was the best, and he had a $16 million a year offer on the table from the Braves. To get that 2nd starter, the Yanks had to pay more. And they did.

              As it turned out that year, Joba fell apart down the stretch when the Yanks limited his innings. AJ had a decent year in 2009, and was reasonably successful in the post-season. Included was the Yanks most important game in the whole tournament, the game 2 win vs. Pedro Martinez in the World Series, after Lee had outdueled CC in game 1.

              They’ve paid for it in 2010 and 2011, but it’s likely they don’t win it all in 2009 without AJ.

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          Bad moves =/= panic moves. TBH, though, I’m okay with the AJ deal. In 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011 the Yankees probably had the best team in baseball but they didn’t have the pitching to make it through a short series. In all those years they won all of one playoff series, it appears that the 2012 squad is about the same, but at least AJ Burnett gave them enough pitching so that they could make it to the WS and pick up their 28th WS title. Sure it was a bit too much money, but they spend about 200M every other year, right? Why not spend it on something that will at least get you there one year, even if it will suck the rest of the time. I’m unsure if there’s been anyone else on the market like that. Maybe Edwin Jackson or Hiroki Kuroda, but that’d be it. Even them, I’d be surprised if they had a year in Pinstripes as good as AJ’s 2009. Yes AJ sucks, but you can’t really fault Cashman for making the move.

          Vazquez was coming off of a year where he was a top five pitcher in the majors. He traded Melky Cabrera and a pitcher in Low-A for him. I’d hardly call that a terrible move or a panic move. Sure it blew up in his face, but even the best laid plans can be doomed to fail.

      • CJ says:

        Wandy would be an example of a panic

      • CJ says:

        Really? They just call and say we like swisher for b prospects Brian. Really? Do they say oh and we like cano too?

        • thenamestsam says:

          How do you think these things go down? There have been rumblings that the Yankees would trade Swisher. None of that seems to have originated from the Yankees, but it has been out there. So yes, teams looking for outfielders literally call Cashman and say hey is Swisher available? So yes, that’s exactly how it happens.

        • Brian S. says:

          ….Yes? If someone in the front office didn’t spread the rumor then that’s not us ‘shopping him’.

        • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

          GM’s inquire on players that aren’t being actively shopped all the time. Some of the complaints levelled at Cashman by the inpatient folk on here are that he doesn’t make things happen by doing just that enough.

          I can guarantee you trading for Felix Hernandez would not start with him sending Brian Cashman a valentine and some arepas.

          • MannyGeee says:

            I was just going to say this… 7 times a year we hear that Felix Hernandez was asked about… But you KNOW the Ms aren’t shopping him.

            If you don’t ask you’ll never know

  5. Avi says:

    “a comparable Yankees package would have been something like Manny Banuelos, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Austin Romine.”

    I have no problem trading those guys just want an ELITE pitcher back if I am; even if I have to pay a little more. As Moshe on twitter pointed out the price goes down substantially for pitchers that only have one year of control left, even if they’re better than Gio.

    • CJ says:

      You have to make that deal

      • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

        Which would leave you with how many close-to-MLB ready arms? No way.

      • mustang says:

        No way they are going to be all stars.

      • Avi says:

        I wouldn’t trade Banuelos straight up for Gio.

        • Guns of Navarone says:


        • thenamestsam says:

          Really? What about a slightly different question: Playing the same game as this morning’s post: If you could get Gio Gonzalez’s career out of Banuelos right now, do you take it?

          I think the answer has to be yes.

          • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

            They’re not the same kind of pitcher.

            Sentiment very well understood, though and, yes, I’d take the level of relative success that would potentially get you the haul the A’s just got from the Nats.

          • Jesse says:

            I love that game and hope we can do it will all the highly regarded prospects.

              • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

                It is a nice reality test for some. Takes you away from this “if they’re not going to reach their tippity-top ceiling, then they’re a bust and you should have traded them” mentality.

                • Jesse says:

                  Agreed. Some people just have to realize that if some, or even all, of the top prospects don’t reach their ceiling and are a few notches below, doesn’t make them busts and that they can still be quality pieces to a team.

            • thenamestsam says:

              I think it helps focus your thinking on what the actual worth of these guys is. We hear so much good stuff about these guys that we start thinking they’re all going to be stars.

              But thinking about it this way, if you told me that Manny will have two partial years with some struggles and then two years of 200 innings with a 3.7 FIP, where he still walks a lot of guys but also strikes out a lot, gets a lot of grounders and overall is putting up 3.5 WAR seasons, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Which is why I would happily trade ManBan for Gio. And I’d think long and hard about giving up the package Mike posited. Wouldn’t do it, but it wouldn’t be easy to turn down.

              • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

                Here’s where we differ: I’m thinking of this as “would we be fine with this by the time he’s as old as Gio,” and I’d take gladly take those years from Manny knowing that we’re not going to go back in time and get them again from Gio.

                I see the game more as “would you be fine with this more reasonable expectation that isn’t ‘the next Andy Pettite?’”

              • Mike Axisa says:

                But thinking about it this way, if you told me that Manny will have two partial years with some struggles and then two years of 200 innings with a 3.7 FIP, where he still walks a lot of guys but also strikes out a lot, gets a lot of grounders and overall is putting up 3.5 WAR seasons, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Which is why I would happily trade ManBan for Gio.

                That’s not how it works though. You’re not getting 2008-2011 Gio, you’re getting 2012-2015 Gio.

                • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

                  Well, how’d Gio do in 2012-2015, Mike? Crunch some numbers. DO SOMETHING. :)

                • thenamestsam says:

                  Absolutely you’re right, which is why it doesn’t automatically answer the question would you do the trade (as I mentioned above), but for me it really informs the answer in most cases.

                  The counterarguments would be:
                  1.That Gio is on a downward trend – that seems to be the perception around here based on his walk rates, but I’m not sure I see it. His FIP, xFIP and ERA all imrpoved from 2010 to 2011. The walks are scary because they make of think of guys that collapsed (i.e. Ollie Perez), but I’ve never seen any actual evidence that high walk rate guys are more likely to fall apart.

                  2. That Gio’s good years in the past were more valuable than the ones to come because they were earlier in the cost-control cycle. This is undeniable, but I think it’s a relatively small factor because we’re talking about low amounts of money.

                  To me, all of that added together means that I’d gladly turn Manny into the pitcher than Gio is today, even missing out on those earlier years (and the cost-control that goes with them) which is exactly why I’d happily trade him for Gio straight up.

  6. Craig Maduro says:

    If I remember correctly, Milone is a very pedestrian lefty soft-tosser. He made it to The Show so I can’t knock him too much, but “yawn”. I’d guess he was an easy inclusion for the Nats since they already have John Lannon.

  7. mustang says:


    Well at least he didn’t end up in Boston disappointing for some I know.

  8. Kevin says:

    I feel as if the yanks never have a shot making a trade like this. I find that the other teams ask for the moon when the yankees get involved.

    • Guns of Navarone says:

      They’re asking for the moon from everyone apparently… and they’re getting it. Bad news for the trade market going forward.

  9. Tyrone Sharpton says:

    Its cleat what NY and Boston are doing. They are saving up their assets for next offseason. Book it, those two will be battling for Hamels next year

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      There will be a few more teams involved, including the one Hamels currently plays for.

    • CJ says:

      Boston will make a solid move or two…Bailey madson Hanley? Gammons “Boston is in on everyone” cashman is playing angry birds on his phone, and misses calls from gms, that game is addictive.

      • MannyGeee says:

        Or he’s laughing when team are acting like George is still running the team and asking for the entire farm when they shake something shiny in front of him…. But nah, Angry Birds works too. Don’t let me ruin the narrative

  10. Improvident Lackwit says:

    Our long national nightmare is over. I think I would have quit the Yankees if they traded for Gio.

  11. CJ says:

    Running out of players to write about. We can do a reflection on Shawn chacon and glen Allen hill.

  12. Gonzo says:

    Cole has to be the one that hurts the most. I am a Cole believer though. Takes guts to make a trade liked that. I’m not sure it’s the best move, but it still takes stones.

  13. vin says:

    From MLBTR:
    “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.”

    Potentially dominant? Really? Strasburg and Zimmerman… fine. Lannan and CMW aren’t “dominant.” And nothing about Gio strikes me as dominant. Am I crazy for thinking he’s more like Jonathan Sanchez than anyone?

    • Reggie C. says:

      Sure Gio’s peripherals leave room for improvement, but he’s still very good. Gio appears to be the nationals #1 starter and by the end of the season he might be its #3 starter in terms of performance.

      Did the Nationals get a Cliff Lee type ace? No. But what they got should still pay off nicely. That is some core the Nationals are building up.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Strasburg, Gio, Zimmerman are about as good a 1-3 as you’ll find on any team not named the Phillies and maybe the Angels (still not sold on CJ Wilson, I think he’s gonna have a rough go for it this season)

  14. CJ says:

    It’s a changing landscape. These GMs are aggressive Nats angels marlins rangers.

  15. Bronx Byte says:

    Gammons ? Is that the same Boston “homer” that said Craig Hansen would be the next great closer in all of baseball ?
    Epstein isn’t around much to play guitar with so now he smooches Cherington’s dumper.

  16. John Cerra says:

    Good trade to miss. I like Gio but a guy who gives up that many walks in the American League East better have 11k/9 to offset it. The Red Sox would eat kill him in a Yankee uniform, working even more walks than he gives up now.

  17. Eric says:

    The price of pitching is too damn high

  18. Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

    It’s crazy to me that the highlight of our offseason as it stands now would be to land Oswalt, a guy that terrifies most of Yankeeland.

    Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a deal that happened this offseason that I wish the Yankees had been involved in instead, it’s just amazing how these things all turn out.

  19. David, Jr. says:

    Not a bad pass. Similar to the Ubaldo Jiminez possibility.

  20. DM says:

    Good deal for the Nationals. And I think Banuelos is better than anyone they gave up for Gio.

  21. CJ says:

    Different approach, any way yanks could trade prospects for Atlanta pitching prospect that is major league ready? Nunez, mason Williams for one? Could romine or betances be flipped for of prospect of similar value?

    • MannyGeee says:

      Not how they do things in Atlanta. They wait until they sink or swim in the bigs before they make the move

      But I like where your heads at…

  22. Mike HC says:

    As long as we have CC we don’t have to trade the farm for these very good, but not great pitchers. Kuroda seems like a perfect fit for us plus we have a ton of other guys to round out the rotation.

    I like the trading for Cole Hamels idea if any way possible at all. At least he is an established, legitimate great pitcher. That may be unrealistic though.

  23. Favrest says:

    They didn’t trade Harper, and they got their man. They might be able to contend for the WC if a few guys like Werth, for example start earning their green

  24. kevin w. says:

    Substitute Phelps or Warren with Noesi and then maybe it is comparable.

  25. Jason says:

    just want to point out that one of those pitcher, I think Milone, is left handed

  26. Jimmy McNulty says:

    I will say this, though, with all the moves being done to acquire pitchers (bad ones albeit) I do think the Yankees should do something to acquire a pitcher. Probably not at these prices, but they need to do something.

  27. Brian L says:

    I just hope the guys the yanks have in there farm system pan out otherwise they might look pretty stupid not making any trades. We all can speculate what they might do in the majors but we just don’t know.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      I don’t think a franchise ever truly looks stupid for holding on to a prospect that doesn’t become what they thought they would. There’s always other FAs, other trades, other prospects.

      We also tend to remember those that get traded away and become something more. The only reason I will ever remember the name “Bob Sykes” is because the Yanks traded a young Willie McGee for him.

      • Brian L says:

        How about Brien Talyor and his $1,000,000 signing bonus and he never panned out for the yanks and they kept him around thinking he was going to turn out be something

    • MannyGeee says:

      We can also speculate what Gio would do in the AL East… Speculations is the key here.

      Remember, even the best bets can turn out to burn you…

      Signed, Omar Minaya

  28. JAG says:

    “Red Sox and A’s talked a lot according to a team source, but GM Ben Cherington not motivated to give up four prospects for Gonzalez.” Nick Cafardo via Twitter.

    Is this code for “The A’s and Red Sox talked a lot, but the A’s realized that the Red Sox don’t have 4 actual prospects to spend on a trade for Gonzalez”?

  29. Gonzo says:

    All I want is Beane to fleece Boston for Bailey.

  30. Ethan says:

    “a comparable Yankees package would have been something like Manny Banuelos, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Austin Romine.”

    Man, I definitely would have pulled the trigger on that trade. Everyone is talking about the free agent crop of pitchers next year but really it’s going to be just as bleak as this one. I’d be shocked if both Cain and Hamels don’t either sign extensions or get locked up before they can reach free agency. Greinke really is not a fit for the NY spotlight and I don’t think Marcum will reach free agency either. He’ll probably be traded at the deadline cause the Brewers will likely be out of it come that time.

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