Nats bolster rotation, land Gio


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Oakland Athletics have reportedly traded starting pitcher Gio Gonzales to the Washington Nationals on Thursday for four prospects. Photo by: Mark Terranova/Flickr

It seems like the Washington Nationals of all teams could have the best rotation in the National League East next year.

After weeks of rumors about several teams trying to acquire Oakland Athletics starter Gio Gonazles, it was the Nats who swung in and got the deal done. Via Twitter, ESPN.com’s Keith Law reported the Athletics will ship Gonzales to our nation’s capital for prospects A.J. ColeDerek NorrisBrad Peacock and Tom Milone. The acquisition of Gonzales gives the Nationals another strong arm to go with a projected rotation that also includes Stephen StrasburgJordan ZimmermannJohn Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang.

I predict Gonzales will probably wind up as the club’s No. 3 starter behind Strasburg and Zimmerman, but having him in the middle of the rotation is a lot more than most teams have. And if Gonzales pitches like he did in 2010, the Nats might end up as the winners of this deal after dealing four highly-touted prospects. Last season, he started out great, but blundered in the second half after making his first AL all-star team in just his second year in the pros. That might make the trade a bit scary for Washington if Gonzales continues down the path of mediocrity. However, if Gonzales can eat up 200-plus innings like he has done for the past two seasons and stay consistent with his 3.23 ERA during that same span, it will be the Nationals who reap the benefits.

Oakland unloading

Athletics manager Billy Beane is apparently rebuilding a team that was already very young, which probably doesn’t make much sense to most fans.

I think this offseason he was just trying to get something in return for player who he knows will be begging for the big bucks once their dismal rookie contracts run out. He has done a good job of that so far this offseason, but it has to be discomforting for fans of the A’s. So far, Beane has unloaded Trevor CahillCraig Brewslow and Gonzales. If that wasn’t enough, there are still a heap of teams with closer Andrew Bailey on their radars.

The truth is, Beane can’t keep these budding stars. Although Beane and his scouts are the ones who find them, the Athletics are just too poor to keep any of that talent. In turn, Oakland usually sees those sacrifices pay off big time for the teams they trade with. It’s an ugly part of the game, but I hope Beane and the A’s can at least scrounge up some wins for the good name of baseball.

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