After weeks of rumors, it looks like the Washington Nationals have gotten their man. ESPN's Keith Law is reporting that the Nationals and the Oakland Athletics have reportedly agreed to a five-player deal that will send lefty starter Gio Gonzalez to D.C. in exchange for catcher Derek Norris and pitchers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock and Tom Milone.
Gonzalez, 26, has emerged as one of the top young starters in the game over the past two seasons. With a 3.17 ERA over 402.2 innings since the beginning of the 2010 season, few pitchers have had more success on the field in the American League. He's a tad wild, though, averaging over four walks per nine innings even at his best, and he presumably benefitted a good deal from the pitcher-friendly confines of Oakland.
It appears to be a pretty strong return for the Athletics. Law noted in his tweet that he loves the deal for Oakland, and it's understandable given the haul they got. Norris is one of the top catching prospects in the game given his combination of power, patience and defense, and they got three quality pitching prospects, as well.
Milone, 25 in February, could step into Oakland's rotation immediately as a cheap back-of-the-rotation option in the short-term. Peacock, 24 in February, is another pitcher that's nearly ready to contribute in the majors. Some think that he might end up in the bullpen, but he's got quality stuff. And beyond those three, Cole might even be the best prospect in the entire package. He doesn't turn 20 until January, but he posted great peripheral stats in Single-A (2.53 FIP) and has top-notch stuff.
This is a clear win-now move for Washington, which can add Gonzalez to a rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. The Athletics, on the other hand, get a really good return for a pitcher that they likely couldn't afford over the next few years anyways. Getting Norris, Cole AND Peacock all in the same deal is a pretty nice move by A's GM Billy Beane.