Brewers get veteran lefty Gonzalez in trade with Nats
WASHINGTON (AP) — It didn’t take Gio Gonzalez long to get to his new team.
The deal was announced after the Brewers beat Washington 4-1, and Gonzalez, who began the game in a Nationals uniform, spoke to reporters afterward in Brewers gear.
In Gonzalez, Milwaukee gets a durable 32-year-old with postseason experience. Gonzalez, who will be a free agent after the season, has a career record of 124-97 with a 3.71 ERA in 308 games (302 starts) with Oakland and Washington. This year, he’s 7-11 with a 4.57 ERA in 27 starts.
“I grew up here. I had my family here, my wife and my kids. It’s just sad but I’m happy,” Gonzalez said. “I’m really happy. I’m getting a second chance to redeem myself and I think this is a perfect opportunity with a team like the Brewers. I see there’s a hopefully a brighter future for me (with Milwaukee).”
The deal was finalized during the game at Nationals Park at the end of a busy day for the Brewers, who hold the second NL wild-card spot and trail the Central-leading Chicago Cubs by four games. Milwaukee got left-hander Xavier Cedeno from the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day to give the team more options out of the bullpen. Less than an hour after the Gonzalez trade was announced, the Brewers acquired veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gonzalez has been a mainstay of Washington’s rotation through its run of regular-season success, including NL East titles in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
In seven seasons with the Nationals, Gonzalez went 86-65 with a 3.62 ERA in 213 starts, and the south Florida native was a longtime fan favorite for his affable demeanor.
“The track record’s important, the success he’s had is important and we feel like we’re adding a good pitcher to our staff,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Counsell couldn’t say where Gonzalez will fit in Milwaukee’s rotation, which he said is set until Wednesday, and he didn’t rule out using him out of the bullpen.
“Look, we’re at the stage where we’re just getting outs and we’re gonna try to get 27 outs a game,” Cousell said. “If there’s a spot to use him in relief, I would consider that as I would for all these guys.”
Gonzalez last pitched Wednesday in a loss at Philadelphia.
Acquired in a trade with the Athletics after the 2011 season, Gonzalez’s first year with Washington was his best. He went 21-8, leading the NL in wins, with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 32 starts, and was named to his second consecutive All-Star Game.
He did not top 11 wins in any of the four seasons that followed, and his ERA crept upward every year, until he bounced back in 2017 by going 15-9 with a 2.96 ERA. Gonzalez has made at least 31 starts in all but one of his past eight full seasons.
“I’ve learned a lot from him and the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business,” Washington starter Tanner Roark said.
In four postseason series with Washington — none of which the Nationals won — Gonzalez did not earn a decision in six starts, pitching to a 4.78 ERA.
The Nationals got minor league infielders Gilbert Lara and KJ Harrison from Milwaukee along with $250,000 in international slot money.