FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) reported on Washington's interest in 26-year-old Oakland A's left-hander Gio Gonzalez last week and wrote on Twitter on Monday that the Nationals were, "... pushing hard for Gio. Discussing 4-for-1 trade with #Athletics." In a follow-up report entitled, "Nats working hard to land Gonzalez", the bow-tied FOXSports.com writer mentioned pitchers like 25-year-old '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler and 23-year-old right-hander Brad Peacock as possible targets for the A's while noting that the Nationals were also, "... deep at catcher," which led many to believe the Nats' top backstop prospect Derek Norris could be involved.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article this afternoon entitled, "Nationals actively pursuing A's ace Gonzalez", lists both Peacock and Norris as two of four, "... players the A's are looking at," as Washington and Oakland discuss a deal with the Nats MLB beat writer noting that, "... it is believed that Gonzalez will be traded soon." Gonzalez finished the 2011 season in Oakland with a (16-12) record, 3.12 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 4.05 BB/9 and 8.78 K/9 in 202.0 IP. In Mr. Ladson's estimation, even with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in the Nats' rotation, "If [Gonzalez] were to join Washington's staff, Gonzalez would be the ace.
Peacock, the top pitcher on Baseball America's post-2011 Washington Nationals Top 10 prospect list, was (10-2) with a 2.01 ERA, 1.87 FIP, 11.77 K/9 and 2.10 BB/9 in 16 games (13 starts) and 98.2 IP at Double-A Harrisburg in 2011 before moving to Triple-A Syracuse where he went (5-1) with a 3.19 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 9.00 K/9 and 4.50 BB/9 in nine starts before he made his MLB debut in September. Peacock was (2-0) in two starts, one relief appearance and 12.0 IP with the Nats in which he gave up just one earned run and six walks while recording four K's.
Norris, 22, an '07 4th Round pick, made his second trip to the Arizona Fall League this year, finishing the AFL season with two doubles, two HR's, 12 walks, 14 K's, four stolen bases and a .276/.367/.382 slash in 21 games and 76 at bats. The top catcher in the Nats' system (and 9th prospect overall on BA's list) put up a .210/.367/.446 line and hit 17 doubles and 20 HR's in 104 games and 423 plate appearances at Double-A Harrisburg this season. D.C. GM Mike RIzzo told reporters earlier this winter that though Norris' .210 AVG this season, "...raised some eyebrows... his other peripherals were good. His power was as good as we've ever seen it, and again, his catch and throw skills have dramatically improved."
Who are the other two prospects being discussed? CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) listed several Nats' prospects he thought could be included in a deal with the A's, writing that the Nats are, "... said to be pushing for [Gio Gonzalez]. Have good prospects to trade: Peacock, Norris, [Destin] Hood, [Eury] Perez, [A.J.] Cole, etc." ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNxm) is hearing the chatter too, writing on Twitter just moments ago that the, "Nationals continue all out effort to trade for Gonzalez & stay alive in the [Prince] Fielder sweepstakes. A quiet off-season could turn loud in a hurry." Can Mike Rizzo shock the baseball world again?
• The Washington Nationals also announced this afternoon that they'd claimed 23-year-old former Indians' 3B prospect Carlos Rivero off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies who had previously claimed Rivero off waivers from Cleveland. In 136 games and 568 plate appearances (most of which were spent at Double-A in the Phillies' system), Rivero, who was a shortstop but played third last season, had a .270/.326/.440 line with 38 doubles and 16 HR's. Over six seasons in the Indians and Phillies' organizations, Rivero has a .258/.317/.377 slash.