The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez on a contract extension through the 2016 season, with options for the 2017 and ’18 campaigns, thus avoiding salary arbitration. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
The Nationals acquired Gonzalez from Oakland as part of a six-player trade on Dec. 23, 2011.
The 26 year-old Gonzalez is coming off his finest big league season to date. In 2011, he finished 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA in 32 starts for Oakland and registered career-best efforts in wins (fourth in AL), ERA (10th), innings (202.0), strikeouts (197), strikeouts per 9.0 innings (8.8, fourth in AL), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.2/1) and percentage of pitches that result in a swing-and-miss (23.2%).
Gonzalez’s efforts in last year resulted in his first career All-Star selection. By season’s end, he ranked third among MLB qualified southpaws by fanning 8.8 per 9.0 innings (behind C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee).
In four big league seasons, all with the Athletics, Gonzalez is 38-32 with a 3.93 ERA in 95 games/89 starts.
Gonzalez joins the Nationals after going 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA the previous two campaigns. In the same span, Gonzalez’s 31 wins were surpassed by only Sabathia (40), Clayton Kershaw (34) and Jon Lester (34) among left-handed pitchers. Additionally, during the same two years, Gonzalez was one of only six MLB starting pitchers to record back-to-back 15-win seasons and work in excess of 200 innings in both campaigns. He is joined on this short list by Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson.
Gonzalez was originally tabbed by the White Sox with the 38th overall selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.