Suitors for potential Gio trade increasing

Suitors for potential Gio trade increasing

DALLAS -- While Albert Pujols stole all the overnight buzz at the Winter Meetings, talks of a trade involving A's hurler Gio Gonzalez were picking up steam by the time the sun came up in Dallas on Wednesday morning.

The 26-year-old Gonzalez, already known to have drawn interest from teams including the Marlins and Yankees, reportedly added the Tigers and Phillies to his list of suitors. Next to free-agents C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, the A's southpaw appears to be the most sought-after pitcher this week.

Miami's interest in local product Gonzalez has been well documented, and on Tuesday Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record noted that the A's asked the Yankees for power bat Jesus Montero, along with either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos in exchange for their All-Star pitcher.

But Detroit and Philadelphia's inquiries on the hurler are apparently new. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported that the Tigers are making a "strong push" for Gonzalez and would be willing to part with top prospect Jacob Turner, a 6-foot-5 right-hander. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, meanwhile, first relayed news of Philadelphia's entrance into the discussion.

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The A's won't address specific inquires, but, as general manager Billy Beane noted the previous two days, assistant general manager David Forst reiterated on Wednesday morning that "there is no shortage of interest in our pitchers."

The Phillies, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network, have discussed with the A's a package deal involving Gonzalez and outfielder Domonic Brown, who is considered to be Philadelphia's best offensive prospect since Ryan Howard.

The 24-year-old outfielder, who's played mostly right field but has experience in left, has been shuttled up and down between Philadelphia the Minors during each of the past two seasons. And with Hunter Pence and John Mayberry likely to hold down the Phillies corner-outfield spots next season, Brown is likely expendable.

This past season may have been Brown's most trying yet. The difficulties started with his breaking his right hand in May, and he struggled at the plate once he returned. But in six career Minor League seasons, Brown sports a .294 average with a .834 OPS. He's hit 53 home runs with 251 RBIs and 101 stolen bases over 470 games.

Those numbers sound more like the ones Beane wants to see from prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter before awarding them a prolonged opportunity at the big league level. Oakland is essentially looking to restock its entire outfield this winter and, though a low-cost free-agent signing is possible later this offseason, Beane is hoping to do so via trade.

From the Phillies' standpoint, they're surely familiar with Gonzalez's All-Star arm. He pitched for their Double-A affiliate in 2006 after being acquired from the White Sox in the Jim Thome deal. But Chicago reacquired Gonzalez, whom they drafted in '04, at the end of the year for pitcher Freddy Garcia. They again said goodbye via a trade with the A's that sent Nick Swisher to the Windy City.

Oakland doesn't need to trade Gonzalez this winter and won't if not offered a sizable return, but the club -- in a state of limbo because of an unclear stadium situation -- is making all of its players not named Jemile Weeks available. The A's are open to offers that would net them a handful of prospects who could christen a potential new stadium in a few years.

Along with Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey has garnered plenty of interest and could draw even more in the coming days, considering the closer market is thinning. On Tuesday, the Blue Jays picked up Sergio Santos in a deal with the White Sox, and the Padres were wasting no time replacing departed closer Heath Bell, closing in on a trade with the Rockies for former A's pitcher Huston Street.

Both Gonzalez and Bailey, eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter, are under club control for several more years. Bailey is not set to become a free agent until after the 2014 season, with Gonzalez eligible for such status the following year.

Beane left Dallas on Tuesday night, but before his departure noted no deal involving any of his players was imminent. The A's have been known to stay rather quiet through the Winter Meetings and seemingly prefer to strike a deal shortly after instead.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.