The Washington Nationals today acquired left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez and right-handed pitcher Robert Gilliam from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for catcher Derek Norris, right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole, right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock and left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
The 26 year-old Gonzalez is coming off his finest big league season to date. In 2011, he finished 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA in 32 starts for Oakland and registered career-best efforts in wins (fourth in AL), ERA (10th in AL), innings (202.0), strikeouts (197), strikeouts per 9.0 innings (8.8, fourth in AL), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.2/1) and percentage of pitches that result in a swing-and-miss (23.2%). Gonzalez’s efforts in 2011 resulted in his first career All-Star selection. By season’s end, he ranked third among MLB qualified southpaws by fanning 8.8 per 9.0 innings (behind C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee).
In four big league seasons, all with the Athletics, Gonzalez is 38-32 with a 3.93 ERA in 95 games/89 starts.
“We could not be more pleased to add lefthander Gio Gonzalez to our club,” said Rizzo. “Gio is a front-line starter with glowing credentials, the vast majority of which were achieved before his 26th birthday. Gio’s presence bolsters the top portion of our rotation with yet another power arm to compete in the rugged National League East.”
Gonzalez joins the Nationals after going 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA the last two seasons. In the same span, Gonzalez’s 31 wins were surpassed by only Sabathia (40), Clayton Kershaw (34) and Jon Lester (34) among left-handed pitchers. Additionally, during the same two seasons, Gonzalez was one of only six MLB starting pitchers to record back-to-back 15-win seasons and work in excess of 200 innings in both campaigns. He is joined on that short list by Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson.
Gonzalez was originally tabbed by the White Sox with the 38th overall selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
Gilliam, the A’s eighth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of UNC-Greensboro, went 12-7 en route to notching 8.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a 5.04 ERA last season with Stockton of the Single-A California League. The 24 year-old tied for third in the California League with those 12 wins last season and registered a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.3/1.