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Tag:GIo Gonzalez
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
 

Spring primer: Washington Nationals



By Matt Snyder


The Washington Nationals have never had a winning record. They finished 81-81 in 2005 but came in last. Then they dipped all the way down to consecutive 59-win seasons before winning 69 in 2010 and going 80-81 last season. So is 2012 the time for the first Nationals winning season -- and possibly more? Unfortunately for the Nats, they play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Fortunately for the Nats, they are improved from last season's third-place team.

Danny Knobler's camp report: Harper decision might make all the difference | Likes, dislikes

Major additions: LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Brad Lidge
Major departures: OF Layne Nix, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Todd Coffey

Probable lineup
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Michael Morse, LF
5. Adam LaRoche, 1B
6. Danny Espinosa, 2B
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Roger Bernadina, CF

Probable rotation
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Jordan Zimmerman
4. Edwin Jackson
5. Chien-Ming Wang

John Lannan is also a possibility as the fifth starter, and remember Strasburg is on a 160-inning limit this season.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Drew Storen
Set-up: Tyler Clippard, Brad Lidge

Important bench players

C Jesus Flores, IF/OF Mark DeRosa, OF Rick Ankiel

Prospect to watch
C'mon. You know who. We've all been watching Bryce Harper since he was about 15, and from everything said in camp it sounds like 2012 is the year we see him in the majors. Will he break camp with the club? Only if they're ready to play him everyday, which means Werth is shoved to center. I believe the Nationals would have to be 100 percent convinced Harper was ready to star right now, otherwise there's no reason to do so -- especially since the defense would suffer as a result. More likely, an injury or underperformance opens the door sometime in May or June. Regardless, scouts collectively believe Harper is an elite-level superstar when he does stick in the majors. Anthony Rendon bears watching as well, but not to the extent of Harper.

Fantasy breakout: Jordan Zimmermann
"One could argue that in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery Zimmermann had already broken out. Last year the 25-year-old posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.15 WHIP and only an innings limit kept him from being a top 40 starting pitcher. This season, Zimmermann won't be curtailed in terms of his workload, and better yet, there is room for him to perform better even on a per-inning basis. He averaged slightly less than seven strikeouts per nine innings in 2011, not meeting the standard he set prior to his surgery but he started to miss a lot more bats over his final 10 starts. Over that span, Zimmermann got to strike three 53 times in 58 2/3 innings. With more innings and a higher K-rate likely this season, look for Zimmermann to emerge as a No. 3 starting pitcher in mixed leagues." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]

Fantasy bust Jayson Werth
"Leaving a homer-friendly ballpark in Philadelphia behind, many expected Werth to have a down year in 2011, but the worst may be yet to come. Park factors may have worked against Werth with his move to Washington but even before he signed with the Nationals he was facing a steady decline in his home run per flyball ratio. While Werth's home run power seems to be evaporating the 46 doubles he hit in 2010 was merely an outlier as he has never hit more than 26 in a season barring that one year." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
Every player plays like he's capable and the Nationals don't have a major weakness. The offense has the potential to be strong top-to-bottom, with great starting pitching -- Edwin Jackson proving to be the best No. 4 in the league -- and a lock-down back-end of the bullpen. If everything comes together like it can, the Nationals would make the playoffs. They may not be able to win the toughest division in the National League, but with a possibility of two wild cards on the table -- seriously, Bud, how long until this is decided?!? -- there's certainly no reason to count out the Nats.

Pessimistic outlook
While there are good hitters in the lineup, the lack of an elite slugger in addition to a hole in center field holds the offense back. Werth's struggles bleed into 2012, Zimmerman again can't stay healthy and the pitching staff is plagued by Gonzalez's control issues and Jackson's inconsistency -- not to mention Strasburg's inning limit. Playing in the mighty NL East, the Nationals come in fourth or even last, with the Mets surprising and jumping over them.

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 10:17 pm
 

Brandon McCarthy likely to start opener for A's

Brandon McCarthy

By C. Trent Rosecrans


With Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez gone, Brandon McCarthy will be the A's starter on opening day in Tokyo against the Mariners, manager Bob Melvin said during the team's FanFest on Sunday.

McCarthy, 28, could be the only returning starter from last year's Oakland rotation after the offseason trades of Cahill and Gonzalez. McCarthy was 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 2011, striking out 123 in 170 2/3 innings and 25 starts. He threw five complete games and posted a 1.131 WHIP.

"That would be a lot of fun," McCarthy told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle when told of Melvin's statement that he'd likely start the first game of the season. "That's one of those notches anyone would like to have."

Newly signed Bartolo Colon will start the other game in Japan, Melvin said. Colon, 38, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the A's after going 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA for the Yankees in 2011.

Oakland will play Seattle at the Tokyo Dome on March 28 and 29, before any other games start. Felix Hernandez will most likely get the start for the Mariners.

In addition to the trades of Cahill and Gonzalez, the team lost Rich Harden and traded Guillermo Moscoso.

The A's could round out their rotation with youngsters Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and Jarrod Parker.  Oakland picked up the first two in the trade of Gonzalez to the Nationals and Parker came over in the Cahill trade with Arizona.

Another starter, Dallas Braden, will throw off the mound on Monday for the first time since shoulder surgery, he told Slusser. Braden compared Monday's session of 25 fastballs to Christmas -- "Get to bed early, leave cookies and milk on the table, see what happens."

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 10:23 pm
 

Nats give Gio Gonzalez 5-year extension

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not only did the Nationals avoid arbitration with recently acquired left-hander Gio Gonzalez, the team bought out the rest of his arbitration years and more, agreeing to a five-year, $42 million extension on Sunday, the team announced. The deal also includes options for 2017 and 2018.

The 26-year-old came from Oakland in a six-player deal on Dec. 23. An All-Star in 2011, Gonzalez was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA last season. Overall, he's 38-32 with a 3.93 ERA in parts of four seasons in Oakland. In each of the last two seasons, he's won at least 15 games and thrown more than 200 innings.

Gonzalez will join Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation, along with John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang.

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Posted on: December 31, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Matt Garza still drawing plenty of interest

Matt Garza

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Teams still looking for a front-line starter have apparently focused in on one guy -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza.

The 28-year-old right-hander is available as new Cubs brass focuses on rebuilding long term, while Garza's attractive not only because he went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA for the Cubs last season, but also because he's arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons.

According to several reports, the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are interested in Garza. The American League East teams are particularly interested, because Garza has braved baseball's best division as a member of the Rays.

The newest name out there available for the Cubs is Toronto right-hander Kyle Drabek, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes. Drabek was the main piece the Phillies sent to Toronto in exchange for Roy Halladay. Drabek, 24, was 4-5 with a 6.06 in 18 games and 14 starts for the Blue Jays in 2011.

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported the Blue Jays and Yankees have the type of pieces the Cubs are coveting for Garza. Word is the asking price for Garza is quite high, which would match what has been given up for the likes of Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos and Trevor Cahill, although those three are under team control for longer than Garza.

The Cubs, though, don't have to act now. They can hold onto Garza and wait until a team gets more desperate during the season. It would, however, be a bit of a surprise if Garza is still a Cub in August.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:30 pm
 

Beane expects A's to make more deals

Billy BeaneBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Billy Beane's Oakland swap meet is open and ready for business -- just don't show up on Christmas Day.

"We won't do [any moves] on Christmas, as a matter of principle," Beane said Friday night on a conference call after making the Gio Gonzalez trade official. "We're still having conversations and I anticipate on having conversations [Saturday]."

The team sent Gonzalez to Washington for a package that included left-hander Tom Milone, right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, along with catcher Derek Norris. Oakland also send right-hander Rob Gilliam to the Nationals, as part of the deal agreed upon Thursday and finalized Friday. It wasn't the team's first deal, sending Trevor Cahill to Arizona earlier this month, and it's unlikely to be the last.

"We're trying to collect as many young players as we can," Beane said. "I think that's our best long-term strategy."

Beane made no bones that Oakland would have a hard time competing with the Rangers or Angels this season, or really in the next couple of seasons. The A's, instead, are building for the future and know times will be difficult in the next couple of years.

"We've been through this cycle numerous times and it gets shorter and shorter because the gap between us and everyone else grows and grows. For us to compete, we need a new stadium," Beane said. "I don't think there was a move we could make to compete with the Angels and Texas in the moves they're making. They're going to be somewhere around $150 million payroll. We're not a business that can put that payroll on the field. For us to catch up to Seattle we'd have to spend an extra $40 or $50 million. From our standpoint, I don't know that there's a move we could make to compete with them this year."

While Beane said he hopes to hear soon about a new stadium, the team will continue to build for an opening of a new stadium a couple of years down the line and would like to follow the model set forth by the early-to-mid-'90s Indians, who had a core group ready in the big leagues when they opened Jacobs Field.

"That's the blueprint, the template," Beane said. "They went through some pain there. That was when I had just quit playing and was scouting. They had the guts to do it right and they did it best."

As for closer Andrew Bailey, Beane wouldn't discuss individuals, but made it clear he's open to trading just about anyone on the roster, and Bailey would be an obvious candidate.

"We're still going to be very open-minded," Beane said. "The fact of the matter is, we're putting together the team with the idea that we're going to get a new stadium. We don't have any other choice."

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 4:02 pm
 

As Cubs look to deal, is Matt Garza next?

Matt Garza

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If I'm Matt Garza, I'm not getting too comfortable in Chicago.

During Friday's conference call to announce the trade of Sean Marshall to Cincinnati, Cubs president Theo Epstein said, "I don't think we're done" and "generally we're int he business of taking short-term assets and turning into long-term assets."

Reading between the lines it means Epstein knows the Cubs are going to stink in 2012 and hope to have a team that doesn't stink in the future.

Epstein said the team was looking at building depth in the rotation at both the minor-league and major-league levels, noting they would have "to make sacrifices."

Epstein was asked about Garza, who has been rumored to be on the trade block.

"Matt Garza is the type of pitcher you want to build around," Esptein said (via ESPNChicago.com). "He's a proven top-of-the-rotation guy, a proven performer in the playoffs. I think last year he had his best season, all things being equal.

"It's hard to find top-of-the-rotation guys, so if you have them, and if there's a way to keep them around, that's always compelling for the club. With that said, we've been honest. We are in a mode where we have to listen on everybody. And if there's a way to improve the long-term outlook for this club in a significant manner, we can't look past opportunities."

Epstein added the team isn't in the place where the team has to deal Garza, but as the market has shown recently with the Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez trades, starting pitching is the most valuable commodity on the market right now and can bring back several pieces in return.

Garza made $5.9 million last season and is due a raise through arbitration for next season and is also arbitration-eligible for the 2013 season before becoming a free agent.

"We'll listen," Epstein said. "Because there's always an active trade market for top-of-the-rotation guys with multiple years of control."

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 10:15 pm
 

Gio Gonzalez traded to Nats for four prospects



By Matt Snyder


The Washington Nationals have landed left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. In return, the A's will receive a veritable killing that is usually reserved for an ace-type pitcher. Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris and A.J. Cole are headed to Oakland's system in a trade that was first reported by ESPN.com. In fact, Peacock and Milone are probably going to be thrown into the A's starting rotation. UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports that the Nationals will also get right-handed pitcher Robert Gilliam.

"It's 99 percent done," Gonzalez said (Associated Press). "It's pending a physical and I'm just waiting to hear from my agent."

On the Washington end, they are getting a 26-year-old lefty who isn't eligible to be a free agent until 2016. Gonzalez was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 202 innings last season for the A's. Of course, he also led the majors with 91 walks. Still, he's pretty tough to hit, holding opposing hitters to a .230 batting average and .336 slugging percentage last season.

With Gonzalez alongside Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals have a formidable trio to lead their rotation for several years. Further, with John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang -- and Ross Detwiler as insurance -- the Nats have a very strong rotation top to bottom. They are coming off their best NL East finish since the move to Washington -- third place -- as they'd previously finished in last place five times and fourth place once.

Gilliam, 24, appears to be a throw-in. He was 12-7 with a 5.04 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in High-A ball last season. He did strike out 8.5 batters per nine innings, though.

More Hot Stove
As for the A's, they are clearly rebuiling, just as we've known all winter. They already traded All-Star pitcher Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks and are still rumored to be close to trading closer Andrew Bailey.

This deal will go a long way toward setting up the future, and -- as I mentioned earlier -- Milone and Peacock probably step into the rotation with Brandon McCarthy and two others (Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden are still recovering from season-ending surgeries) immediately.

Milone is a 24-year-old left-hander. He was 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 155 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings in Triple-A last season. He was then promoted to the big-league club and made five starts, with decent success. He had a 3.81 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 26 innings with 15 strikeouts and four walks (and two of those were intentional).

Peacock was pretty dominant last season at three different levels. The 23-year-old right-hander started the season in Double-A, where he went 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings. He then struck out a batter per inning in Triple-A for nine starts and was moved up to the Nationals. In 12 big-league innings, Peacock only gave up seven hits and one run (0.75 ERA).

Norris, 22, is a high-on-base, power-hitting catcher. Last season, he hit just .210 but had a .367 on-base percentage with 20 home runs in Double-A. He also stole 13 bases and threw out 40 percent of would-be base-stealers.

Cole, 19, is a bit away from the bigs but has high upside according to many scouting services. The 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher went 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA for Class-A Hagerstown last year, but he also struck out 108 batters in 89 innings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 8:55 pm
 

Add the Nationals to list of Gio Gonzalez suitors



By Matt Snyder


A's starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez has been one of the hottest names swirling through trade rumors this offseason. It's not a rumor, it's reality, that he's on the block. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported last week that the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds were among the suitors for Gonzalez. Oakland general manager Billy Beane is shooting for the stars, too, because Knobler reported that the A's asked the Marlins for blossoming slugger Mike Stanton. And now we can add the Nationals to the mix.

Hot Stove League
Knobler confirmed that Washington has talked about a swap for Gonzalez, after a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports stated the Nats are "pushing hard" and talking about dealing four players for Gonzalez.

Also, with the Reds having acquired Mat Latos, you can cross them off the list of suitors. If the Rangers or Blue Jays land Japanese phenom Yu Darvish -- the two clubs are the reported favorites -- you can cross another name off the list. Still, it looks like the A's could end up being a big winner as things stand, with so many teams looking to add one more starter and a dearth of names available through a trade or free agency.

Gonzalez, a 26-year-old left-hander, was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 202 innings last season. Good numbers, but he also led the AL with 91 walks and plays half his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors. Last season his home ERA was 2.70 and his road ERA was 3.62.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com