Curly W Live – Introducing “Nat Gio”
Hello everyone. I suppose a “Happy New Year” is still in order as this is my first blog of 2012.
We are only 26 days shy of pitchers and catchers reporting to Viera for Spring Training. It really is coming quick.
But not quick enough!
If our fans are half as excited about ’12 as I am, we’re in for a loud and enjoyable summer at Nationals Park.
With this first blog of ’12, I want to talk about Mike Rizzo’s last major strike of 2011. Namely, the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez from the A’s on Dec. 23.
We are thrilled to have Gio join our family. We’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about him as a pitcher, teammate and a person.
I am excited to meet Gio, as he is flying into town this afternoon. Later tonight, I’ll meet him and his family at the Caps-Bruins game at the Verizon Center.
Here is what we know. Gio is a front-line starter. Those do not grow on trees.
What’s better: Gio is a 26 year-old front-line starter who throws left-handed. Those too don’t grow on trees. And if they did, they’d reside only in the nation’s finest botanical gardens.
This is a 26 year-old pitcher who won 31 games and posted a 3.17 ERA for the A’s the last 2 seasons. While pitching for Oakland in 2010-11, Gio’s A’s went 36-29 (.554). When anyone else started for the Athletics in those same two seasons, they finished 119-140 (.459).
A South Florida native, Gio’s return to the East Coast and his exposure to our growing fan base will provide his system (and ours) a healthy jolt. Couple these factors with a good-old fashioned pennant race and there is good reason to believe Gio’s talents can rise to new heights.
Gio, 26, joins John Lannan, Ross Detwiler and Tom Gorzelanny as left-handed options in Davey Johnson’s rotation stable. Not bad weapons to have, especially in lieu of the annual 72 intradivision contests featuring either Jason Heyward, Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Logan Morrison or Chase Utley.
This was hardly one of those spur-of-the-moment trades your read about from baseball’s glory days. I know Mike Rizzo and his baseball ops brain trust were working on this deal for at least two months. I sat in on a good number of the internal discussions, some of which took place during the Winter Meetings in Dallas.
It was tough to give up A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock. All four of these youngsters possess considerable talents that made them desirable, not only by the A’s, but numerous other teams. And they are fantastic young men. We’ll be watching from afar where those talents take them and we thank them for their efforts and wish them nothing but the best. That said, I am glad they will be in the American League, at least in the immediate future!
As all our fans know, we have placed an inordinate emphasis on scouting and player development since coming on the scene in 2006. This is precisely what we had in mind upon crafting our organizational philosophy.
Think about the Gio trade. As stated, we (begrudgingly) dealt four talented players to Oakland. But digging deeper reminds us that none of the four were acquired with premium draft picks. Rather, they were 4th- (Cole, Norris), 10th- (Milone) and 41st-round (Peacock) selections.
Gio Gonzalez will toe the rubber for your Nationals during the first home series of the season (April 12-15 vs. Cincinnati) with the collective wisdom of our scouts and the diligence of our development staff.
So, I salute Mike and his various staffs for “a job well done,” which was essentially six years in the making. Yes, six years.
Remember, Brad Peacock was scouted and drafted in 2006.
Until our next blog meeting …