Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 2/7/13
  Throughout the offseason, The Nats Blog will look back at every player’s 2012 season to summarize and analyze his performance, and we’ll look ahead to his possible role in 2013. We’ll go from #1 Steve Lombardozzi all the way to #63 Henry Rodriguez until Spring Training. Enjoy. When the Washington Nationals traded for Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland Athletics, it became the biggest splash of the Nats’ 2011 offseason. Nats fans started getting excited about how the rotation was shaping up, and Gio didn’t disappoint. Gio led the pack among National League pitchers and commanded respect from opposing batters. He pitched 199.1 innings for the Nationals in 2012, and recorded a 2.89 ERA (sixth in NL), .206 batting average against (first in NL), and 1.13 WHIP (eighth in NL). His 207 strikeouts ranked fourth in the National League, and his 21 wins ranked first. All of these tremendous numbers are what earned him consideration as a Cy Young award finalist. He won Pitcher of the Month for May, when got the win in all five of the games he pitched, and recorded a 2.25 ERA and .156 BAA with 45 strikeouts. In 2012, Gio was also invited to play in the All-Star Game for the second time in his career, and he won the Warren Spahn Award as recognition for being the best left-handed pitcher of the year. He could also easily win MLB’s Most Permanent Smile Award if there was such a thing, as the most smiley National brought a great positive energy and sense of humor to the team.  After pitching for Oakland in the American League for four years, Gio only had seven career at-bats to his name when he moved to Washington. He didn’t have the most success at the plate (he finished with a .094 batting average), however, he did hit his first major league home run and he learned a little something about sliding when running the bases (Watch this and tell me you didn’t laugh). Next Year: Gio is signed to a five-year, $42 million contract, with team vesting options for 2017 and 2018, so he can be expected to be showing his smiling face around Washington for many years to come. If he is not subject to disciplinary action from MLB from the ongoing PED investigation he and several other players are involved in, he will pitch second in the rotation for the Nationals. Up Next: #48 Ross Detwiler  
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