Tag: Gio Gonzalez

Billy Beane

Billy Beane and Mike Rizzo love trading with each other


Yesterday the A’s swapped shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard, and in doing so completed the ninth trade between general managers Billy Beane and Mike Rizzo since December of 2010.

Or, put another way: Oakland and Washington have made an average of one trade every five months for the past four years.

Some of them have been minor deals and they actually swapped catcher Kurt Suzuki back and forth twice, but in addition to this significant Escobar-Clippard trade they also had big ones involving Josh Willingham, Gio Gonzalez, and Derek Norris, plus a three-team trade with the Mariners that had Michael Morse and John Jaso in it.

Baseball-Reference.com has the full trading history between the two teams, because Baseball-Reference.com has everything always.

Beane is perceived as pretty new-school, Rizzo is perceived as pretty old-school, and they love making trades together.

Nationals telling teams Jordan Zimmermann is “available”

Jordan Zimmermann

Reports of the Cubs trying to acquire Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals last week were mostly shot down, but now Bob Nightingale of USA Today writes that Washington is indeed “informing teams that Zimmermann is available” in trade.

Zimmermann has just one season remaining until he’s eligible for free agency and the 28-year-old right-hander is in line for a massive payday, so shopping him makes some sense considering the Nationals still have Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and Tanner Roark in the rotation.

Oh, and here’s a potential added wrinkle: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that the Nationals are one of five teams he thinks will make a serious run at Max Scherzer. Would they trade Zimmermann and then spend huge money while also losing a draft pick to bring in a different ace?

Nationals still in great position for 2015

Anthony Rendon

Maybe it’s still too soon to take solace, but the Nationals have more answers than questions headed into the winter.

Ex-closer Rafael Soriano excepted, the entire pitching staff is due back next year, including the NL-best rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. The team might want to talk extension with Zimmermann and Fister, both of whom are free agents after next season, but they won’t have to go starter shopping. Soriano almost certainly will be allowed to walk and Ross Detwiler could also be traded or set free, but the Nationals will still be in good hands in the pen with Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Aaron Barrett and company.

It was the Nationals’ lineup that was the problem during the NLDS, but at least the team’s two most important players going forward — Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon — were the two who shined versus the Giants. The Nationals will probably say goodbye to Adam LaRoche, even though he was such an important part of this year’s lineup. Ryan Zimmerman needs to be a full-time first baseman because of his shoulder problems.

That leaves the only question mark as second base. One imagines the Nationals will try to re-sign Asdrubal Cabrera, who is a better option than any others out there in free agency. A trade is also a possibility. The Rays would probably be open to discussing Ben Zobrist, and the Nationals have some intriguing outfielders and hard-throwing right-hander Blake Treinan to use in talks.

But it should really be a rather quiet offseason for the Nationals overall. They’ll enter next spring as the favorites to win the NL East and probably as the favorites to represent the NL in the World Series, though we all know how well that can work out.

Matt Williams’ must-win strategy could use some work

Division Series - Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants - Game Four

How do you lose a 3-2 game without ever using either of your two best relievers or the No. 1 starter you designated to the bullpen for the day?

Nationals manager Matt Williams used six pitchers in Tuesday’s Game 4 loss to the Giants. None of them were named Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen or Stephen Strasburg.

Williams made the proper move in taking Gio Gonzalez out for a pinch-hitter after four innings, but that was the only time he showed a real sense of urgency in the game. Gonzalez’s hiccup came in the second inning, when he botched a comebacker and then came momentarily unglued, giving up a pair of unearned runs. He was throwing well afterwards, and he was at just 55 pitches, but trying to score runs was the priority in the top of the fifth.

Williams, though, then decided to turn to his fifth starter, Tanner Roark, in the bottom of the fifth rather than his co-ace in Stephen Strasburg. That started the procession: Roark, Jerry Blevins, Matt Thornton, Aaron Barrett and Rafael Soriano.

RELATED: Sick of seeing Cardinals, Giants in NLCS? Too bad

The biggest mistake in there was letting Thornton, a lefty, face Buster Posey with one on and one out with the score still 2-2 in the seventh. Only after Posey singled did Barrett take over, but a righty should have been in the game already That it was Barrett over Clippard was something of a surprise. Not to take anything away from Barrett, who was excellent as a rookie and has a promising future, but with the score tied in the seventh inning of a must-win game, that situation had Clippard written all over it.

Unfortunately, Barrett walked Hunter Pence to load the bases and threw a wild pitch to allow Joe Panik to score. It was then that something truly bizarre happened: Barrett set up to intentionally walk Pablo Sandoval, airmailed to throw home and would up with an out anyway after making a play on Posey at the plate.

At that point, it seemed like a given that Barrett shouldn’t continue. So it was finally Clippard time, right? Nope. On came exiled closer Rafael Soriano with the dangerous Brandon Belt at the plate. At least that all worked out for Williams — Belt lined out to left and Soriano stayed in to pitch a scoreless eighth — but it was still an awfully dangerous choice in a one-run game.

In the end, the Nationals’ NLDS downfall had much more to do with the offense than Williams’ self-destructive pitching changed. Nine runs in four games — essentially five games, since one was 18 innings — isn’t getting the job done. Of course, the Giants also scored nine runs in the series and they’re moving on. That’s not all due to the skippers, but anyone who voted Williams ahead of Bruce Bochy in the NL Manager of the Year balloting should be hiding their heads in embarrassment right now.

Giants top Nationals in NLDS Game 4, move on to NLCS matchup with the Cardinals

hunter pence catch getty

Ryan Vogelsong pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and the Giants eked out three runs against lefty Gio Gonzalez and the Washington bullpen as San Francisco closed out the NLDS on Tuesday night with a 3-2 Game 4 victory. They’ll now move on to an National League Championship Series matchup with the Cardinals, and for the fifth straight season one of those teams will be heading to the World Series.

The Nationals put up a good fight to try to force a Game 5 back in Washington, D.C. — Bryce Harper launched a game-tying solo splash shot to McCovey Cove in the top of the seventh and then drew a walk in the top of the ninth to represent the tying run — but Giants closer Santiago Casilla ultimately shut the door.

Hunter Pence’s sixth-inning catch against the wall to rob Jayson Werth of an extra-base hit was a huge moment given how close the game remained throughout, and it’ll provide a lasting image of this NLDS win.

The Giants have won seven straight postseason series dating back to 2012. They’ve taken the long road this year, starting with a Wild Card Game victory in Pittsburgh, but now they’re just four wins away from another Fall Classic. Ace Madison Bumgarner will be ready to rock for Game 1 on Saturday at Busch Stadium.