Originally posted on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 1/16/12


After trading for lefty Gio Gonzalez, the Washington Nationals needed to ensure they could keep him around for a while. Well consider that mission accomplished.

The Nats have completed a five-year contract extension with Gonzalez that will keep the 26-year-old with the team through 2016. The deal is worth $42 million but includes options for 2017 and 2018 that could drive the total value up to $65 million.

Gonzalez was acquired in exchange for four prospects in late December. He joins a Nationals rotation that already included two top young arms in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Now that they have all three in the fold for the foreseeable future, the team’s pitching staff is set up well for the long haul.

Gonzalez is a four-year veteran, and in that time he has compiled a 38-32 record, with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in 535.1 innings. But over the past two seasons Gonzalez has gone 31-21 with a 3.20 ERA and 368 strikeouts in 402.2 innings. He was also an All-Star pick in 2011 when he went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA.

The new deal gives Washington stability in its rotation, and that is huge, since they traded a group of players that included right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, and lefty Tom Milone in exchange for him.

Gonzalez”s contract is worth an average of $8.4 million annually and that will likely impact the deals of guys like Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays, Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds, Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves and Madison Bumgarnern of the San Francisco Giants.

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