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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking back at the Gio Gonzalez trade.

On December 23, 2011, the Washington Nationals made a deal with the Oakland Athletics that helped to shape the best six-year run in franchise history. The Nats obtained Gio Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam for prospects A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, and Brad Peacock. Less than a month later, the Nationals locked Gonzalez in to a seven-year extension that bought out his first three years of free agency. Seven years later, let’s see how the deal turned out.

spanx for the memories Posted: August 15, 2018 at 11:15 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland athletics, washington nationals

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   1. TomH Posted: August 16, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5727695)
Fair enough assessment. WAS fans are frustrated with him in 2018, and frustrated the Nats haven't won in the 6+ years he's been here, but he helped get them multiple division titles. The article didn't go into his playoff performance, which was mediocre (4.8 ERA, way too wild), but of the 6 games he started in the post-season, WAS won 3 and lost 3. Overall, you would have to say it was a good deal for the Nats.
   2. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 16, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5727719)
Gio Gonzalez is another one who has been in multiple interesting trades. All but one of which were when he was a prospect.

- he was the PTBNL in the trade that sent Jim Thome to the White Sox and Aaron Rowand to the Phillies.
- a year later, he returned to the White Sox along with Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia. One of the worst trades the Phillies have ever made.
- a year later, he was the major part of the White Sox package they sent to Oakland for Nick Swisher.
- then after 4 years with the A's he was finally part of the "veteran" part of a trade. This was one of the first times when we said "Hey wait a minute Beane, he's still very inexpensive and you're already getting rid of him?"

I recall that as a prospect he was seen as a flake with overbearing and interfering parents, and therefore it was easy to decide to include him in a trade, make him someone else's problem.
   3. McCoy Posted: August 16, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5727723)
Gio Gonzalez is another one who has been in multiple interesting trades. All but one of which were when he was a prospect.

Should have said transactions which would have enabled us to count the time he got kicked off his little league team.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: August 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5727736)
Gio Gonzalez is another one who has been in multiple interesting trades. All but one of which were when he was a prospect.
I assume he is on a very short list of modern players who both debuted at a relatively young age and had already been traded 3 times.

I think it's rare for players who eventually become good to be traded even twice before their debut.
   5. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: August 16, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5727744)
I think it's rare for players who eventually become good to be traded even twice before their debut.


I suppose he got his debut in San Diego, but Rizzo was traded twice before becoming a regular -- of course, it's more like Jed Hoyer worked for three organizations before Rizzo debuted :-)
   6. bunyon Posted: August 16, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5727847)
Any Washington fans who don't think they won over these six years should probably tune out for the first few post-Harper years. Several division titles? I think one year with the best record in the NL. They've had a nice run.
   7. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: August 16, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5727853)
Poking around a bit - I can't find anyone who can match Gio's three trades...

Tyler Skaggs got traded twice, but back to LAA. Lewis Brinson has been traded twice.

A fair number of never-made-its - Andy Marte, Drew Henson, a few others.

Can't find another three-time dealt prospect.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: August 16, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5727878)
Can't find another three-time dealt prospect.
If we are firm about the trades happening before their debut, are there any other twice-dealt ones?
   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5727888)
If we are firm about the trades happening before their debut, are there any other twice-dealt ones?


Lou Piniella had a eventful pre ROTY career.

Originally signed by Cleveland.

Taken by the Senators II in the expansion draft.

Traded to Baltimore. Made MLB debut with Baltimore. Got 1 PA

Traded back to Cleveland. Got second shot at the bigs. Got 6 PA this time.

Taken by Seattle in another expansion draft.

Traded to KC. Won the ROTY.

   10. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: August 16, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5727894)
If we are firm about the trades happening before their debut, are there any other twice-dealt ones?


Well, Henson went to Cincy and then back to NYY before his debut.

Marte, Skaggs, and Brinson all got cups of coffee on their second stops (Marte before being dealt).

Domingo Santana and Colin Moran are two more that got traded twice while they were still prospects - but both got Sept call-ups with Houston before the 2nd trade.
   11. JJ1986 Posted: August 16, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5727976)
If we are firm about the trades happening before their debut, are there any other twice-dealt ones?
Chris Archer. Ed Yarnell was a pretty highly-regarded prospect traded twice before his debut. The aforementioned AJ Cole went back and forth.
   12. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 16, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5727994)
There must be lots of players who were traded twice before their debut. I looked up the first trade I could think of and found that Travis d'Arnaud went from Philly to Toronto to the Mets before his debut.

Or is the question, are there any such players who went on to be as good as Gio Gonzalez?
   13. JJ1986 Posted: August 16, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5728009)
I found a prospect who was traded 3 times before his debut - Brett Wallace. Drafted by the Cardinals; sent to Oakland in the Matt Holliday trade; swapped to Toronto for Michael Taylor (even less good version); debuted for Houston after being traded for Anthony Gose.
   14. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 16, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5728023)
Jason Bay is a guy who had a long journey before putting together a pretty solid career. He was drafted by the Expos in 2000, traded to the Mets in March 2002, then traded to the Padres in July 2002. He played in 3 games for the Padres in 2003, before they dealt him to the Pirates that August as the PTBNL in the Brian Giles deal. So before Pittsburgh, which was really where he got his start, he had already been with three orgs.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 16, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5728027)
So before Pittsburgh, which was really where he got his start, he had already been with three orgs.


As I said above, Lou Piniella was in his 6th organization (one of them twice) before he got his 7th carer PA.
   16. Endless Trash Posted: August 16, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5728037)
Not quite the same thing, but Duane Kuiper was drafted about 150 times.
   17. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 16, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5728058)
Lou Piniella had a eventful pre ROTY career.

Originally signed by Cleveland.

Taken by the Senators II in the expansion draft.

Traded to Baltimore. Made MLB debut with Baltimore. Got 1 PA

Traded back to Cleveland. Got second shot at the bigs. Got 6 PA this time.

Taken by Seattle in another expansion draft.

Traded to KC. Won the ROTY.

The Indians, in their infinite wisdom, decided to protect Richie Scheinblum rather than Sweet Lou
   18. Stormy JE Posted: August 16, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5728097)
The Indians, in their infinite wisdom, decided to protect Richie Scheinblum rather than Sweet Lou
That's only because Scheinblum promised the club's owners to alter Cleveland's weather patterns for the better.
   19. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: August 16, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5728226)
I wouldn't wish having to watch Gio Gonzalez trudge up the mound on any other fans, even if they root for the Yankees. Even when he's pitching like Cy Young, he makes you feel like your entire life is hopeless.

BUT! Only 8 more starts and then Nats fans are free, FREE AT LAST!!
   20. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: August 16, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5728234)
The aforementioned AJ Cole went back and forth.

Of the 4 players going to Oakland in that trade, A.J. Cole and Tommy Milone are back with the Nats in D.C.

Word has it that Beane and the Lerners approached Elon Musk about building a hyperloop between D.C. and Oakland to facilitate even more such trades. It would fit their historic pattern.
   21. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 16, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5728255)
That's only because Scheinblum promised the club's owners to alter Cleveland's weather patterns for the better.


Probably the only Jewish player represented among the autographs I accumulated as a kid. Though I'm pretty suspicious of Harold Goldsmith ...
   22. Zach Posted: August 16, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5728269)
Jose Bautista bounced around to several teams as a Rule 5 guy (including, sigh, the Royals, who traded him for the immortal Justin Huber).
   23. Adam Starblind Posted: August 16, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5728457)
Jose Bautista bounced around to several teams as a Rule 5 guy (including, sigh, the Royals, who traded him for the immortal Justin Huber).


The same day as Kazmir for Zambrano. At the time it seemed much worse because Huber and Matt Peterson were also beloved prospects.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: August 16, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5728501)
"Hey wait a minute Beane, he's still very inexpensive and you're already getting rid of him?"

I looked at this set of trades years ago (they started with Swisher I think) and they generally worked out fine for the A's, at least in total WAR terms and given their money situation. We can argue whether Gio's post-FA extension years should be included on the Nats' side of the ledger but we certainly can't consider them value that the A's would have gotten instead.

In this case, the A's conceivably could have had 2012-15 which was 12.6 WAR (for $29 M). Norris gave them about 6 WAR then was traded for Jesse Hahn who has not turned out but still given them a half-WAR. Milone gave them 4 WAR then was traded for a year of Sam Fuld who gave them another WAR. Cole never pitched for them but was part of a complicated deal that brought in John Jaso who gave them 3 WAR. Peacock never pitched for them and never provided much value to anybody until last year -- he (and Max Stassi) were traded for Lowrie who gave them 3 WAR.

My memory is this was one of the worst of that set of trades and you can still argue the A's did OK from a total WAR perspective. The fact that was spread out among a number of mediocre players rather than one good one, and a number of those were secondary acquisitions, is probably a bad thing but there is value in cheap mediocrity to a low-payroll team (i.e. those roster spots would probably be going to replacement-level players).

Anyway, none of these trades worked out hugely for the A's, none of them really hurt them ... until Donaldson. And for 2012-15, Gio's $29 M would have been about 9% of the A's overall payroll, topping out around 15% in 2015.
   25. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: August 17, 2018 at 12:04 AM (#5728636)
Adrian Gonzalez was another good prospect (number one pick, no?) turned star who was traded multiple times as a prospect.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: August 17, 2018 at 12:16 AM (#5728640)
As I said above, Lou Piniella was in his 6th organization (one of them twice) before he got his 7th carer PA.


Lou's Pilots 1969 rookie card
short cups of coffee in 1964 (1 PA Orioles) and 1968 (6 PA Indians), but never played for the one-and-done AL Seattle Pilots.

instead 1969 Rookie of the Year for the also-expansion and division rival Royals (in the first year MLB had divisions)

Sweet Lou turns 75 later this month
   27. Hank Gillette Posted: August 17, 2018 at 04:30 AM (#5728666)
Sweet Lou turns 75 later this month


Somehow, I remembered Piniella being a lot better player than he was. Only 12.5 WAR for an 18 year career. If you remove the negative WAR years, he gets all the way up to 18 WAR.

He was kind of intense, though.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5728720)

Somehow, I remembered Piniella being a lot better player than he was.


Don't fret it. Everyone remembers Piniella being a lot better than he was. See also: Scott, Mike.
   29. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: August 17, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5728952)
Nelson Cruz was another one who was traded twice before his debut (Mets to Oakland, and Oakland to Milwaukee) and then a third time after 7 plate appearances with the Brewers.
   30. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: August 17, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5728954)
Also re [2]:
This was one of the first times when we said "Hey wait a minute Beane, he's still very inexpensive and you're already getting rid of him?"

that change really started four years earlier when they traded away Swisher (in the trade where they got Gio) and Haren who were both just entering their arb years.

Also also re [24]: Jaso was part (along with Daniel Robertson, so the accounting is not straightforward) of the trade that got Zobrist, and Zobrist got them Sean Manaea.
   31. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: August 17, 2018 at 09:58 PM (#5729056)
Not really relevant, but...I remember reading "Who's Who in Baseball" as a kid and being amazed at all the multi-player trades Del Unser was involved in. To wit:

December 2, 1971: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Gary Jones, Terry Ley and Denny Riddleberger to the Cleveland Indians for Roy Foster, Rich Hand, Mike Paul and Ken Suarez.

November 30, 1972: Traded by the Cleveland Indians with Terry Wedgewood (minors) to the Philadelphia Phillies for Roger Freed and Oscar Gamble.

December 3, 1974: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Mac Scarce and John Stearns to the New York Mets for Don Hahn, Tug McGraw and Dave Schneck.

July 21, 1976: Traded by the New York Mets with Wayne Garrett to the Montreal Expos for Jim Dwyer and Pepe Mangual.

An eight-player trade, a four, a six and another four, for a total of 18 other players, in less than five years. (Oh, and he was also drafted three different times.)
   32. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: August 18, 2018 at 09:09 AM (#5729180)
Those trades sound like a couple kids swapping baseball cards because...why not??

True story: Del Unser came to visit my Hardy Elementary school class. Though I wasn't quite sure who he was, even though he was dressed out in his Washington Senators uniform.
   33. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 18, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5729265)
as a prospect he was seen as a flake
When he was with the A's, Gio had a reputation for being emotional and immature and leaning heavily on Dallas Braden as his big brother/confidence coach. I really liked Gio, though, thought he was very intelligent and gracious in interviews.
   34. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: August 18, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5729271)
Even with the Nationals When he was with the A's, Gio had a reputation for being emotional and immature and leaning heavily on Jayson Werth, who is no longer playing Major League ball.

FIXED!

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