According to this tweet from ESPN's Keith Law, the Nationals have finally landed a front-line starting pitcher they've been seeking, dealing four prospects to the Oakland A's in exchange for left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
We're still waiting definitive word from the Nationals, of course, but if the deal goes down as reported, the A's got quite a haul for the 26-year-old southpaw, who is under team control through 2015. The Nationals' package in the 4-for-1 swap included right-hander Brad Peacock, left-hander Tommy Milone, catcher Derek Norris and right-hander A.J. Cole.
It's not three former first-rounders the Reds sent the Padres for Mat Latos last weekend in a 4-for-1 transaction, but Peacock, Cole and Norris were the Nos. 3, 4 and 9 of the Nationals' top 10 prospects in Baseball America's recent rankings. Peacock and Milone were considered the Nationals' two most major league-ready pitching prospects, Norris was their catcher of the future and Cole was thought of as top rotation prospect after advancing to Single-A Hagerstown in 2011.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Peacock and Cole said they had not been contacted with news of the proposed deal.
Gonzalez was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA in 32 starts last season. He is 38-32 with a 3.93 ERA in 95 games, all but six of them starts, since breaking into the majors with Oakland in 2008.
Norris (2007) and Cole (2010) were fourth-rounders, while Milone was a 10th-round selection in 2008. Peacock was a 41st-rounder in 2006 who overachieved his way into one of the team's top prospects.
Update: A baseball source confirms both sides have agreed in principle to the trade as outlined above, with only physical examinations and exchange of medical records necessary before a formal announcement. However, given the approaching Christmas holiday, the process could drag on past the holidays. It's likely the Nationals would like to hold a press conference to introduce Gonzalez, but that probably couldn't happen before early next week.