Oakland’s Gio Haul: A Cynic’s View

What a difference two weeks can make.

I posted Oakland’s 2011-12 Top 15 prospects list on Dec. 6 and have been forced to revise the ranking twice in the last 16 days. The first move sent young starter Trevor Cahill to the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the second – and most recent – deal flipped Gio Gonzalez (and an inconsequential minor league arm) to the Washington Nationals for four prospects.

There have been a lot of kudos over social media outlets for Oakland General Manager Billy Beane but, honestly, I don’t get the love. My personal reaction upon reading the news was: “Really, that’s it?”

I know Gonzalez is not the end-all-and-be-all of starting pitchers but I can see him becoming a reliable No. 2 starter in the Washington Nationals starting rotation for quite a few seasons. There has been a lot made about the positive impact of his home park, as well as Oakland’s defense behind him, but let’s consider his road FIP (4.40) is not terrible by any means and he’ll be facing weaker lineups in the National League.

Three of the four players acquired by Oakland in the deal made my 2011-12 Washington Nationals Top 15 prospects list. The best player is starter A.J. Cole, who was a 2010 fourth round draft pick out of a Florida high school. I ranked him as the third-best prospect on the list behind outfield stud Bryce Harper and infielder Anthony Rendon. Here is an excerpt from my report on Cole:

Cole has the potential for a very good pitcher’s frame (6’4” 180 lbs). His fastball reaches the mid-90s already and there may be more in the tank. His secondary pitches include a potentially-plus curveball and developing changeup… Cole has the chance to be a No. 1 or 2 starter if everything breaks right for him – and his changeup improves. He may even add a few ticks to his fastball if he continues to add muscle to his slender frame.

Cole suddenly becomes the second best pitching prospect in the organization behind recently-acquired Jarrod Parker, and right in front of 2011 first rounder Sonny Gray. Both Parker and Gray will likely reach Oakland before Cole, but the former Nats prospect could land in the Majors at some point in 2013.

After Gray on the pitching depth chart in Oakland you’ll find the second prospect in this deal Brad Peacock, a right-handed starter. He could potentially become a No. 3 starter if he sticks in the starting rotation but he could just as easily end up as a high-leverage reliever. Peacock is an arm-strength guy with a fastball that sits in the low-90s and occasionally hits 96-97 mph. His curveball shows flashes on plus potential and his changeup has a chance to be average. I had him ranked as the seventh best prospect in the system and said this:

He’s still working on the consistency of his changeup and his fastball command comes and goes. He doesn’t have the strongest frame so durability could be a bit of a question mark once he hits the 180-inning mark… Control and command will be the biggest things to keep an eye on in 2012.

Peacock pitched 48 innings at triple-A and 12 more at the MLB level in 2011 so he’s a near lock to make A’s depleted starting rotation in 2012. I like the right-hander as a prospect, but I’m not 100% convinced his long term big league role with be a starter.

The third best prospect in the deal is catcher Derek Norris, perhaps the most “classic Oakland-like player” in the deal. An on-base fiend, the former fourth round draft pick hits for massive power (.237 ISO) but he’s struggled to hit for average over the past two seasons and strikes out at an alarming rate (27.7% in 2011). The problem with Norris, whom I ranked as the ninth-best prospect in Washington’s system, is that he’s a bat-first catcher who may or may not stick behind the dish – although he has shown improvement. Here is what I recently wrote about him:

Quite honestly, Norris’ development is headed in the wrong direction and he’s in danger of falling out of the spotlight when it comes to the organization’s top prospects. He’ll have to have a bounce-back year while repeating double-A if he’s going to get any traction in his question to become the Nationals’ backstop of the future. Expect the organization to slow his development down.

Norris jumps to the front of Oakland’s minor league catching depth ahead of Max Stassi, whom I ranked as the ninth best prospect in the system after the Parker trade. He should be a decent replacement for currently big league starting catcher Kurt Suzuki who should be expendable (too expensive) any day now.

Tom Milone is the fourth prospect and I don’t get the love for the soft-tossing left-hander. Yeah, velocity isn’t everything when you have pinpoint control but there isn’t much margin for error when you have a fastball that ranges from 85-89 mph. On the plus side he has deception and a four-pitch mix that he uses to keep hitters off balance. Still, I spent my early days of prospect watching pining for the likes of Craig Anderson and John Stephens. I’ve learned my lesson to never overrate this type of pitcher.

Overall this is not a bad deal for Oakland but I’m surprised that it’s the best that Beane could do and it strikes me as quantity over quality. If I’m a Washington Nationals fan, I’m absolutely thrilled with this deal and the new-look starting rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Gonzalez.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

59 Responses to “Oakland’s Gio Haul: A Cynic’s View”

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  1. Brad Johnson says:

    Glad to see this. I have the same take on the prospects. However, I don’t think Gonzalez is much more than a good, mid-rotation workhorse, so the deal seems pretty reasonable to me.

    Ultimately, I think this move is a lot less exciting than it’s being made out to be.

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    • Choo says:

      Pitch/FX provides an alarming clue that suggests Gio Gonzalez will be anything but a workhorse in the immediate future. There are four pitchers whose curveballs are nearly identical in terms of Magnus (spin angle / rpm / mph), curveball/fastball mph differential, and % thrown:

      Erik Bedard
      Dana Eveland
      Jason Isringhausen
      Gio Gonzalez

      One of those pitchers is unlike the others (so far…) and I’m not talking about Isringhausen’s handedness. The A’s will never admit to it, but there is a good chance this was their primary motivation.

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      • danmerqury says:

        How do we know if that’s predictive? To me, that sounds about as legitimate as comparing heights and weights.

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      • Choo says:

        It can’t be predictive, but it can be precautionary. Every pitch contains a measurable component of force and stress. This very specific style of curve ball might simply be too much for the human arm to handle over time.

        The necessary data only goes back to the start of the 2009 season, but if I shrink the sample size for pitches thrown, we get more pitchers with similar pasts, either pre-2009 or while in the minor leagues: Boof Bonser, Cedrick Bowers, Rich Thompson. Brian Bass and David Robertson (healthy past but as a short reliever) are just outside the bubble.

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  2. Cody says:

    I appreciate this article, but I have to throw out this comparison: Gio Gonzalez = Jonathan Sanchez. Look at Sanchez’ 2010 and then Gonzalez’ 2011. Gonzalez has the edge in GB%, but Sanchez had the benefit of a better K/9, but they are nearly the exact same pitcher.

    Gonzalez is solid, but he is nothing special (especially when it comes to his control). Those type of pitching prospects are all over the place in the minor leagues and the majors are littered with them. These pitchers are extremely inconsistent and one should sell, sell, sell as soon as they have a great season. Kudos to Billy Beane.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      I also gravitated toward this comparison: Low 90′s throwing, high K%, high BB% lefty.

      Better to get a haul on this guy than to net Melky Cabrera for 1year (which was better than the steaming pile I thought he’d actually get in return).

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  3. Marc Hulet says:

    Sanchez is three years older, has never pitched 200 innings (Gio did it twice), Gio’s fastball is 2 mph faster on average, he has better fastball command, he induces ground balls at a higher rate… There are enough differences that the comp really doesn’t work.

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    • Oliver says:

      Yep, my thoughts exactly. It’s an interesting superficial comp, but Gio brings a lot more to the table, with the opportunity for improvement.

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    • Cody says:

      All very good points. However, I feel that we have seen this pitcher profile over and over and over again.

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    • Tom B says:

      They both have BB/9 rates north of 4. This is like winning the special olympics.

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    • Todd says:

      Statistically, he’s actually very similar to Ubaldo Jimenez. Their K, BB, and GB rates over the past two seasons have been within about .5 STD of each other. Their contract situations are fairly similar as well, although Ubaldo’s 2014 option was voided with the trade.

      Comparing the two hauls would make for a very interesting piece.

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      • Bill King says:

        I think the Ubaldo comp is much better, good call there Todd. Just because Sanchez has command issues, is left handed and strikes a lot of people out doesn’t mean he’s automatically the best comp to Gio.

        IMO Gio has much better stuff

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      • Bill King says:

        **Better stuff than Sanchez

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      • Oliver says:

        Yeah, that Ubaldo comp is pretty good. Off the top of my head, it seems like Colorado got more for Ubaldo than the As did for Gio, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know Washington’s prospects.
        FWIW, Goldstein doesn’t seem to love or hate this trade. If they do get three star-level players out of this deal, Oakland will have done well.

        “The A’s took an interesting track in trading Gonzalez, and while the haul they received lacks that one elite prospect, they received a trio of four-star level players and a usable extra arm.”

        All this does is put into perspective just how crappy the haul was for Johan Santana. Gah.

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      • Cody says:

        Todd, that was sort of my point with my initial comment. J. Sanchez, E. Volquez, U. Jimenez, G. Gonzalez. We all go gaga for these guys at one point or another, but they are the same pitcher. Yes, there are variations in age, GB%, and other small factors, but over the course of five years or so, they will all be inconsistent and disappoint.

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      • therealscottym says:

        AJ Cole could easily be elite after this season. In fact, I’d bet on it.

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  4. Mario Mendoza says:

    Doesn’t xFIP take out a lot of factors that make Home and Road different? Shouldn’t Home and Road be similar for all pitchers?

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    • Mario Mendoza says:

      ^Shouldn’t Home and Road [xFIP] be similar for all pitchers?

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      • Husker says:

        You make a very good point. Technically, xFIP should not vary much by park.
        Commenters here make way too much of home and road splits though. There are non-ballpark factors that lead to players playing better at home than on the road as a general rule.
        To say that a player who changes home parks will drop to the level of his road splits is fallacious and unsupported.

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      • BABIP problem says:

        No because my name.

        For example, Oakland Coliseum has a MUCH larger foul area than most other parks which makes it much easier to get BIP outs than in other areas.

        There are also additional things that can affect BIP (I believe Minnesota has sort of background in center field which makes it hard to pick up the ball coming from a pitcher’s hand).

        There are all sorts of problems in assuming that xFIP should be similar for all pitchers….

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  5. Mario Mendoza says:

    Nice article. I appreciate your pre-trade scouting reports on these kid as opposed to the post-trade, hyped-up scouting reports I’m reading elsewhere.

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  6. Matt says:

    I am an Oakland fan and have been crazy about Gio. I have been dreading the trade for weeks. Even factoring in the personal player love and the tendency to overrate the players on the team you follow, I thought this was a fantastic move for the A’s.

    Gio’s been hyped like crazy. He’s had a couple of very nice seasons and has been fun to watch, but he’s living on the razor’s edge. He walked more people than anyone from 2010-11, and if you check his BB/9, he has been second from the bottom among all qualified starters in MLB in each of the past two seasons.

    Hulet – a lot of Oakland hate recently. What’s the deal? I liked the Cahill trade a lot as well. You know what’s crazy? They may have gotten a load of prospect upside without actually making themselves worse in 2012. I would have projected Cahill and Gio for a total of about 5-6 WAR this season, and between Peacock, Milone, Parker, and Cowgill they may get that.

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    • Husker says:

      You make some good points.
      Moreover, the A’s are going nowhere in the near future (see Angels, Rangers). Thus, stocking up on prospects by trading Cahill and Gonzalez and hoping for a better distant future in San Jose or somewhere else makes a lot of sense.

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  7. Bill King says:

    I think there’s a lot of value here for Washington. Not only do they have three very good, young starters.. they’re three guys with power stuff and upside. Each of them can shut down an opposing offense and have high K-rates.

    Come 2013 this team might have the best team in the game, they’re not far off at all if their players develop.. and it’s not like their prospects are 18 yr old high school kids.. can’t wait to watch this team. Baseball this year will be pretty awesome.

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  8. MC says:

    It’s interesting to me regarding Tom Milone that everyone focuses on his stuff/velocity, or lack thereof, yet no one really mentions that his K/9 and BB/9 are much higher and lower, respectively, than most pitchers who throw in the mid 90′s, let alone mid80′s to low 90′s.

    True John Stephens had similar stats but I don’t think it’s fair to say that Stephens failed when he was given only 65 IPs in the majors. I guess this is what sucks about being a baseball player, you’re at the mercy of the whims of the people running these clubs.

    But even Tom Glavine, one of the best soft tossing lefties ever, didn’t pitch well in his first season and a half. Same with Jamie Moyer. I think many times these types of pitchers get pidgeonholed because they don’t fit the stereotype of what a pitcher “should be”. For instance nowadays there are hardly any of the old school screwball, palmball, etc. style pitchers. It’s kind of you could say the stereotype of what a woman “should” look like, etc. So I think it’s somewhat unfair to say that these types of pitchers don’t translate well the majors, etc., because most of the time they aren’t even given a chance. With pitchers especially, IMO, you have to be more patient than with position players.

    Now I see your point of view, that maybe these prospects are not on the Strasburg level or close to it. However, it’s extremely rare to get back 3 starting pitching prospects for 1 player. And I think all 3 of these pitchers are the types of guys that most clubs would really like to have in their minors and eventually their rotation.

    So I do really like this haul and think, not just the quality, but especially the quantity that Oakland received is quite commendable. I’ve been critical of many of Beane’s recent moves but I do like this, it’s quite a haul.

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    • wobatus says:

      Milone threw his fastball at 87.9 mph average in the majors last year. Small sample, but guys who threw about that hard or less include:

      Maholm, Marcum, Lilly, Vargas, Wolf, Capuano, Buehrle, Tomlin…OK, not exactly aces, but they gave 1.3-3.4 war, some have done better than that. And 1.3 war may not seem like much but that was Lilly, and he was the 83rd ranked starter by WAR. There are 150 starter slots. So the worst of this soft-tossing bunch is about as good as most team’s 3rd starter.

      Sure, a lot of that is just innings, and sub-2 WAR is below replacement, you can get rookies to toss some innings as well. Guys like Milone.

      But it is clear that most of these guys are serviceable starters, many getting paid a ton of money. miloone is cheap, and his AAA numbers suggest he could be a Vargas type. Perhaps more Ks. And Lilly has been better than last year.

      Fine, that is just the “successful” ones last year, not the ones that flamed out, and these guys themselves have high beta (Wolf was awful in 2010). I’d just think throwing him in is a bridge too far for an already good package, and I’d think even just Cole, Milone and Norris is sufficient without having to add an even better prospect in Peacock.

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  9. Luke says:

    I have to say I disagree with some things you say here. You rate Gonzalez as a number 2 pitcher and say that of the prospects Oakland received they got a likely number 2 pitcher and a potential number 3. So surely Oakland got a good deal then? If they’d swapped like-for-like and got a guy who is eventually a number 2 for a guy who is now a number 2 they’d have done a fair deal. To get a guy who could be a number 3 (assuming all works out) and then two other guys in addition I think they made out with the better end of the deal (though I still like it for the Nats). You mention that you don’t feel the love for Billy Beane, but then say you expected him to get better? That’s a complete contradiction as you are holding him to values and expectations that you have said you don’t believe…

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    • Oliver says:

      Well, all prospects are iffy. Oakland is assuming the risk here of the prospects busting. So they weighted the risk and cost of Gio vs. the risk and cost of the prospects and took the prospects–the risk is higher for the As but the reward could be very high if they do in fact end up like for like.

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    • doug K says:

      Ever heard of 1 in the hand are worth 2 in the bush?

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  10. Brad Johnson says:

    Without looking into it too closely…

    Oliver Perez?

    I’ll be back.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      And now having looked into it, I think it’s an interesting comp in terms of pondering Gio’s downside, but Gio is clearly a statistically superior (and much more consistent) player.

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  11. RéRé says:

    You can’t just start throwing around Oliver Perez comparisons and then disappear. That’s unkind.

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  12. Mike says:

    I can see a “moneyball” trade from a mile away, and they generally help both teams. As a casual Nats fan I am stoked about Gonzales. All this talk about walks, but look at the ERA and the quality starts. Since I seriously doubt that his control will get worse, the Nats are looking at a 15+ winner for years to come, with a sub 3 ERA.

    And mark my words A’s fans, Milone is absolutely the one to watch. He dominated in the minors, improving greatly at each level. A perfect 3-4 starter.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      Are close of comps are Tom Milon and Eric Surkamp ? Who does Mark like better?

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      His ERA and quality starts against who? The mariners and Angels? In Oakland? He’s in his mid 20s, probably won’t get better. His control might get marginally better, but his stuff and K rate will get worse. He’s a number 3 guy. The only offense he had to face consistently and the only offense park he was in consistently was Texas.

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    • wobatus says:

      Stephens was mentioned in the article. Stephens was a righty, and did have stellar k/bb numbers, but never had Milone’s 9.68 k/bb ratio he had last year at AAA. And Stephens never got a chance again after 60+ major league innings, and apparently got worse the longer he was in AAA. But in his 60+ innings he had an awful hr/fb 9as well as a low gb ratio, much like Milone), and his xfip was only 4.08, so not awful.

      I agree Milone could make a very serviceable 3 and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t at least turn into a 4, a Vargas type. Peacock has higher upside and Cole even higher still. but nice to get Milone as almost a toss in.

      It may take a couple of years for him to get his sealegs. We’ll see if he gets the chance.

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  13. Jim says:

    The Nats gave up an ace level package for a guy with a #2 ceiling who is realistically a #3. Maybe he somehow “gets” it eventually and cuts down on his walks, but the overwhelming odds are that he is what he is, which is a solid middle rotation innings eater with poor control.

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    • rory says:

      I don’t think it’s all together fair to establish empirically that Gio’s ceiling is that of a #2 starter.

      I guess it depends on who else you’ve got in your rotation, but Gio was certainly the A’s best starter, their #1 starter, in 2011. His stuff is about as nasty as anyone else in the AL

      (5th best contact%)
      Brandon Morrow 75.40%
      Michael Pineda 75.80%
      CC Sabathia 76.50%
      A.J. Burnett 76.70%
      Gio Gonzalez 77.10% <—
      James Shields 77.10%
      Josh Beckett 77.70%
      Justin Verlander 77.90%

      (9th best opp batting average%)
      Justin Verlander 0.191
      Josh Beckett 0.207
      Michael Pineda 0.209
      Jeremy Hellickson 0.209
      Jered Weaver 0.210
      Ricky Romero 0.214
      James Shields 0.215
      David Price 0.227
      Gio Gonzalez 0.229 <—
      C.J. Wilson 0.230
      Dan Haren 0.231

      (9th best k%)
      Brandon Morrow 26.10%
      Justin Verlander 25.80%
      Michael Pineda 24.90%
      David Price 23.80%
      CC Sabathia 23.40%
      James Shields 23.10%
      Felix Hernandez 23.00%
      Josh Beckett 22.80%
      Gio Gonzalez 22.80% <–
      Jon Lester 22.80%
      C.J. Wilson 22.50%
      Jered Weaver 21.40%

      Now obviously, the issue with him is his control, but a part of that is how nasty his stuff is. It's not easy to throw junk like that and keep it in the strike zone.

      (1st BB%)
      Gio Gonzalez 10.50% <—
      A.J. Burnett 9.90%
      Jon Lester 9.40%
      Jeremy Hellickson 9.30%
      Trevor Cahill 9.10%
      Brandon Morrow 8.90%
      Ricky Romero 8.70%
      Ivan Nova 8.10%
      C.J. Wilson 8.10%
      Derek Holland 8.00%

      If you look at that list, Gio does have an obscene number of walks, but you'll notice something else… It's not exactly the list of the worst pitchers in baseball. The average era of that group is 3.7.

      Meanwhile, 10 pitchers with the lowest BB% combine for an average ERA of 3.94. In other words, the pitchers with the best control fared worse on average than the pitchers with the worst control.

      (lowest BB%)
      Josh Tomlin 3.20%
      Dan Haren 3.50%
      Brandon McCarthy 3.60%
      Carl Pavano 4.20%
      Doug Fister 4.20%
      Jeff Francis 4.90%
      Mark Buehrle 5.20%
      Gavin Floyd 5.60%
      Bartolo Colon 5.80%
      Rick Porcello 5.90%

      Anyways, it semantics to debate what a #1 starter is, but to me, I think of a #1 starter as being among the top-15 pitchers in the league, and subsequently being odds-on to be the best pitcher on whatever team the player ends up on.

      In 2011, Gonzalez had the 17th best FIP, and the 12th best ERA in the AL.

      His walks are high, but that doesn't preclude him from being among the best 15 best pitchers in the league. Add to that, his youth, and how pitching on a tightrope backed by sub-par offense might have influenced his BB%, and I think it's very likely that he could cement his status as a top-15 starter. With the contact%, the oppAve, and the k%, it's clear that his stuff about as nasty as anyone's. If he cuts down on his walks, he could be elite.

      I'm not necessary adamant that he will round out into a perennial ace, but to say that his ceiling is that of a #2… I strongly disagree. He may round out into a #2 starter, but there's clearly the potential for him to be a #1 on a lot of teams.

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  14. wobatus says:

    I would have imagined a package without Milone would have gotten it done, or maybe even without Peacock or Cole. In other words, 2 of the starters plus Norris. I wonder what rival packages were out there, or if Nats just didn’t care about Milone. I agree that he is getting a bit maligned due to the velocity issue. A lot of precedent there, but some of those guys do make it, and not like Yusmeiro Petit or Stephens is the only comp. AAA isn’t that awful, and that’s where Milone was doing it.

    Didn’t everyone say “See?” when Kennedy struggled?

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  15. andrew says:

    Gio’s first three seasons starting are relatively similar to AJ Burnett’s first three years. Nationals couldn’t be too upset if Gio performed like Burnett did over the next 5 years of his career

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  16. Husker says:

    A lot of gas wasted here over who Gonzalez’s closest comp is.
    A sample size of 1 is as small as you can get.

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  17. Robbie G. says:

    Billy Beane is not the whiz kid that he was 8-10 years ago, as the inefficiencies that he was exploiting back in the day no longer exist, but he does seem to understand better than maybe any other GM that there are a ton of pitchers out there in their mid-twenties who can be very effective for a short period of time but can’t necessarily be expected to hold up and CAN be expected to become quite expensive by the time they are in their mid-twenties. And they are generally less effective at 30 than they were at 25.

    Oakland has had consistently good pitching since they stopped going to the playoffs. Their problem has been hitting. Beane trades away good young starting pitcher after good young starting pitcher and Oakland just replaces these guys with younger, cheaper, and equally effective pitchers. Meanwhile, other teams give free agent #3 starters $60-$80 mil. When it comes to developing position players, Beane has a big problem. But I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on both of these trades.

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  18. Antonio Bananas says:

    two 2-3 starters, a solid catcher, a AAAA player all for a guy who, in 2-3 years when his stuff starts to weaken and he can’t K 200 batters, his walk rate will still be super high. I think it’s a good trade for the Athletic. Gio isn’t that good. He pitched in a weak-hitting division in a division with mostly pitcher’s parks. With that walk rate he gets killed in most other divisions.

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    • Tom says:

      Who’s the other 2/3 starter in this deal?

      Peacock? That seems a wee bit aggressive for a guy without a lot of secondary stuff.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        John Sickels thinks Peacock is a 2/3. He has more credibility than I do. Maybe he’s optimistic, I just think that even if there’s one 2/3 starter, and any of the other guys become 0.1 WAR guys, that’s a win for the nats because Gio is a 2/3 guy who has horrible command. When Gio starts to age and his stuff isn’t as good and his K/BB rate isn’t sustainable because he won’t always strikeout as many guys. Then again, maybe the NL will prolongue that. Or, because he pitched in the AL West, where there wasn’t a lot of offense, it’s going to be about the same.

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  19. short says:

    Thanks for this. I was not happy with the deal from the Nats’ perspective, but now it looks like a decent trade either way. I generally don’t like deals in which a team’s value hangs all on one arm. But the prospects involved don’t sound nearly as certain to contribute in the majors as their numbers suggest at first glance.

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  20. Will H. says:

    Sometimes trades make sense for both sides, and this is the case here. I’m not sure why there is so much choosing winners and losers.

    The Nats gave up players whose most likely (not to be confused with floors and ceilings) prospects are as ok but not much more. Gio seems to be good, but not more, but where the team is now they have more 4 and 5 starters than they need, and such players aren’t very hard to get if you don’t have them. But a 3, which I think is fair to place a “good” pitcher, is much harder to acquire in trade, draft and develop, and much cheaper than FA (Buehrle for over 40 million for three years, anyone?) They get an upgrade without hurting financial flexibility for further upgrading via FA and without losing prospects with a great chance of being as good as the one they got… or giving up what makes their foundation already on the field promising, such as what they were willing to do to get Greinke.

    In other words, this is hardly a blockbuster but it makes sense, which is good enough for me.

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  21. spamelot says:

    BA and keith law disagree with your norris defensive asessement. he’s made improvements in that area according to them and can stay there. BA even mentions all star potential, we’ll see.though BA has been high on norris for awhile #35 prospect in 2010

    2011 BA preseaspon he was 72, guess who 73 was yonder alonso

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  22. NM says:

    Norris has a fantastic throwing arm and I haven’t read anything about moving him off of catcher, at least not anything recent. The strikeouts are a little worrisome, but he still managed to post a .371 wOBA in AA last season, and that was with a lowly mid-.200′s BABIP.

    Peacock and Milone don’t really impress me; I think Peacock, a 2-pitch pitcher who lives up in the zone, is a future reliever. Milone put up sexy AAA numbers but his stuff is underwhelming and I wouldn’t trust his trickery working on ML hitters just yet (granted, Oakland is the perfect park for his skillset).

    Cole is still a ways away, but he’s definitely the real prize of the trade with front-of-the-rotation upside. He was severely underrated on draft day too.

    Gio is eh. I mean, he IS a good pitcher — I think he’ll sustain being a 3 or more WAR starter for Washington — but why bother giving up 4 prospects when you could just sign Edwin Jackson? He’s not getting much attention on the FA market it seems and he’s put up the better WAR, FIP-, xFIP-, and SIERA over the last 2 seasons.

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  23. At this point aren’t the A’s always playing for the future?

    1. The A’s of a decade plus ago weren’t built on Moneyball. They were built by having high talent prospects all reach ML near the same time and kick ass. Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Chavez, Giambi, Tejada, etc. Beane’s never come close to reproducing drafts like that, especially when he completely took over the draft process in 02.

    2. BB was able to replace Giambi using “Moneyball”, by adding walks and extra bases with Justice and Hatty. He replaced the lost production by upgrading multiple positions. That’s the value. StL is trying to do the same thing in 12.

    3. I think looking back we have to view those drafts as much luck as skill.

    I like this trade for OAK, but until this young pitching is combined with the next Chavez, Giambi, and Tejade it’s going to be the same process over and over.

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  24. jimb jones says:

    The Joe Blanton trade continues to give to Oakland. Maybe not the best haul, but perhaps he was attempting to score as many top prospects who will be ready to start in the majors at or close to the same time.

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  25. Jim Lahey says:

    Isn’t this a bad deal for the Nationals? I mean… 1 year of Gio under team control for 4 prospects?

    I can understand the package if he was signed to a longer deal, but didn’t the Blue Jays get less for 1 year of Halladay? The Phillies for Lee?

    I’d guess the White Sox would probably have taken Cole/Norris for Danks. Seems like a miss for the Nats cuz of the dollars.

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