Gio Gonzalez Trade was Great Move for Nationals: A Fan’s Reaction

The Washington Nationals made a great trade that should boost their starting rotation for years to come.

Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg will miss the 2011 season, but remains one of the top young guns in the game.
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In the trade the Nationals gave away four prospects (Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, Tommy Milone, A.J. Cole) for Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics. Gonzalez is only 26 years of age, and has shaped up to be a workhorse over recent years, pitching over 200 innings the past two years for the Athletics. He is known to have control problems from time to time, but made the All-Star team last year with a record of 16-12 and an ERA of 3.12. Three of the prospects the Nationals traded were pitchers (Peacock, Milone, Cole), while Norris is a power hitting catcher.

As someone who has followed the Nationals closely since they move to Washington D.C., I think it was a great trade, and there are three reasons why. The first is youth. The Washington Nationals are able to get a proven pitcher who is only 26 years old. Not only that , but Gonzalez is a lefty as well, which makes him a perfect fit in regards to the starting rotation (Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann are both right-handers). Now the Nationals have a solid core of three young pitchers that are locked down for awhile, which will help them compete in both the short and long term. Granted, Gonzalez does not have the veteran leadership of say a Mark Buehrle would if the Nationals were to have signed him, but I think the youth factor plays a greater role knowing that he can further improve and help the ballclub out.

The second reason why I believe picking up Gonzalez was a great move is that he is an "innings eater." The Nationals had a decent year when it came to their bullpen in 2011, but can we expect the same in 2012? Will Tyler Clippard or Sean Burnett regress in any way? I am not so sure that the team's bullpen will hold up as well as it did in 2011, and having someone in the rotation who can give a solid 7 or 8 innings on a consistent basis will help it out immensely.

Lastly, the Gonzalez trade is further proof to fans that the Washington Nationals are serious about winning right now. In other words, the Jayson Werth signing that shocked many last year (including myself) was no fluke. The Nationals are willing to do whatever it takes to improve their ballclub, and it is certainly refreshing to see given the uncertainty during the team's first couple of years in Washington D.C.

Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan who enjoys writing about everything Major League Baseball. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.

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Updated Saturday, Dec 24, 2011