Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gio: D.C. is "where we want to be"



Updated at 7:20 p.m.

Gio Gonzalez has had more than a month to contemplate his trade from the Athletics to the Nationals, and he's had nearly two weeks to contemplate the five-year extension he was given from general manager Mike Rizzo before ever throwing a pitch for his new club.

Gonzalez knows there will be plenty of attention, and perhaps some pressure on him now. And he doesn't shy away from it.

"I know that Mike took a shot with me," the left-hander said today upon finally being introduced at Nationals Park. "And I don't want to let him down."

It was that competitive nature, coupled with a 31-21 record and 3.17 ERA over the last two seasons in Oakland, that convinced the Nationals not only to acquire Gonzalez in exchange for prospects Brad Peacock, Tommy Milone, A.J. Cole and Derek Norris but then to give him a $42 million extension.

"We were satisfied and convinced this is the type of person and player that we want on the mound for us and in the clubhouse," Rizzo said, adding: "He's going to be part of the furniture for a long time."

Gonzalez, 26, wouldn't have been eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, but the Nationals didn't hesitate to buy out his arbitration years plus another season and add two $12 million options for 2017 and 2018.

In doing so, they ensured they'll trot out the trio of Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann for at least the next four seasons. The ability to share the stage with those other young aces played a big role in Gonzalez's willingness to commit long-term to the Nationals right now.

"I feel honored to be a part of it," he said. "I feel like the names that are up there ... I'm going to be with these guys for quite a while. They're all young, talented ballplayers."

A Miami native who was high school teammates with Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero, Gonzalez is excited to join the NL East (with nine guaranteed games per season against the Marlins in his hometown). He's equally excited to spend the next chunk of his career in the nation's capital.

"We sat down [with family] and we analyzed the whole thing," he said. "And when it came down to it, it was like: We're happy. This is it, where we want to be."

Gonzalez spoke glowingly about the Nationals organization and the city he'll now call home, regaling reporters with anecdotes from his tour last night of the Lincoln Memorial and his experience at the Capitals' game at Verizon Center.

"Yesterday it hit me that I was home," he said, "when I was at the Capitals game and I got all the love in the world from the fans."

46 comments:

psdfx said...

anyone else getting sound from the intro ad, but not from the press conference?

psdfx said...

never mind... got it.

Constant Reader said...

I like him.

baseballswami said...

I absolutely love this guy already!!!!!

UNTERP said...

Attitudes like his should be bottled and served...

ChicagoNatsGirl said...

(Spoken in my Grandma's voice): What a lovely young man.

Go Nats!

Tcostant said...

What's not to love, a young, hard throwing lefty who is gonna be around 'til the end of the decade.

natsfan1a said...

I'll second that, ChicagoNatsGirl. :-)

ChicagoNatsGirl said...

(Spoken in my Grandma's voice): What a lovely young man.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Gio is looking to be a winner so soon. Maybe he should save up some of his effort and energy and wait until Rizzo gives him the high sign that it's actually time to go for it in the year 2000-Eleventeen -- what do you think Mark, sound plan?

JaneB said...

Usually it takes a lot longer for one of the New Guys to turn into an "I LOVE THAT GUY" player. I even had to warm up to Strasburg. But I think he might break the record.

N. Cognito said...

Gio was at the Caps game last night.

MicheleS said...

Time for another shersey!!

Anonymous said...

Uhhh... "He's going to be part of the furniture for a long time?? Is he a sofa?"

If this is the case, I would have rather signed Prince... at least he's soft and fluffy.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Hey, I resemble that remark! Some of us are colorful and firm.

Anonymous said...

Whereas, some of us suck the joy out the room the moment we enter.

Feel Wood said...

The building of the Marlins juggernaut continues. From MLBTR: "The Marlins announced that they signed corner outfielder Austin Kearns to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training."

Gonat said...

"We're going to bring the best 25 north," Rizzo said. "If that includes Harper, it's Harper. When I believe Harper is ready to play in the big leagues, he'll be in the big leagues. We're not going to hinder his progress but we're not going to accelerate it to a point where I think it endangers his development and curtails his overall performance."

sm13 said...

Thanks for the news, Feel Wood -- I'm looking forward to seeing Gio stike out Austin Kearns a few times.

On another topic -- does anyone know if/when the Nats are planning a pre-season fanfest. How do we get them to realize, like most of the other teams, that January is the month for those events?

NatsNut said...

I'll just say this now and save ya'll a bunch of angst and arguing. No way in heck does Bryce Harper come north with the big boys out of spring training. It's not happening.

You're welcome.

NatsNut said...

Also, did anyone else catch that awesome new euphemism Rizzo threw out there at the beginning of Gio's intro?

"I'd like to thank the Lerner family for giving us the *ingredients* to make such an important trade for the Washington Nationals."

What do you think "ingredients" means? LOL

masnstinks said...

While watching the proceedings, it struck me that this is exactly the type of ballplayer Rizzo likes - talented, hard-working, competitive, athletic and very personable.I think the fans are going to take to him very quickly. His eager enthusiasm made me smile, and I can be quite the cynic. Many fans thought that we needed to sign Buerhle, the Lerner's were cheap for not getting Buerhle, Rizzo was a moron, etc, etc. Now -- would you have it any other way? I am hoping and praying that they right centerfielder for us is out there somewhere waiting for the right set of circumstances that will bring him to DC also. Sometimes things just have to play themselves out. I can't wait to see the famous Gio curveball live in a game. It looks absolutely devastating on film.

Anonymous said...

So - I see that Scott Olsen is still pitching and will be with the White Sox. wow. And Austin Kearns gets a deal, too. wow. hey -- did anyone else notice that when Rizzo was speaking at the press conference he had about six phones sitting in front of him? What is he , like a world peace negotiator or something? He needs that many phones? One phone is just for Boras?

Oldguy said...

Can anyone in their wildest imagination see PF making a speech and coming across like that? Man, am I glad that trade never happened. This guy is exactly the kind of player we want. Can't wait to get to Viera!

baseballswami said...

The reporters are going to love this guy - he appears to be quite chatty. He also greeted each one very politely after they asked him a question. Strassie will be thrilled - he can have Gio do all the talking. Jordan isn't exactly a big talker either.Drew and Clip - no worries there - I wonder if they will do any more videos of their apartment? Pretty funny guys.

NatsNut said...

anon, reporters sometimes put their phones up there to record the session.

Oldguy said...

Swami,
Exactly right. This stuff builds a chemistry on a team that's worth a bucketload of statistics. The Boston meltdown in September was because that chemistry was gone--too much bad feeling in the clubhouse. Our pitching staff has that quality that lets them rise above their raw talent.

Unkyd said...

I love this!!!

JeanneB said...

I saw some of the comments about what a nice guy Gio is before hearing the presser, and I agree, he does SOUND like a great character guy. Someone we should enjoy rooting for and be proud he represents us. Hope that turns out to be the case. I also hope that he wasn't spoiled at the Caps game last night to think that Washington sporting events = packed houses of fans following every sescond of every play and screaming their hearts out in unison. Nats fans are not quite there. Yet.

(He could go to a Wizards' game as an antidote)

waddu eye no said...

and no more debi taylor to kick around anymore. never a huge fan, but i have to say i was impressed when i'd see her up at the top of the stadium or the wrigley roofs when she was pregnant. tough chick.

Arlington BigFish said...

Am I the only Nats fan who thinks Debi Taylor is kind of cute?

Captcha is Strahs. Does this machine know who's using it?

Anonymous said...

I live in Oakland, and what you're seeing in this press conference is exactly who Gio is. It's why the fans love him and hated to see him go. He might drive you crazy sometimes with the walks, but he more than makes up for it in other ways.

And he's great with the fans. In Oakland, he was a big fan of the alternate home gold jerseys, so the team had to wear those when he pitched. And he'd always tweet to the fans to remind them to wear their gold to the Coliseum when he was pitching. It's a little silly, maybe, but it's the kind of thing that makes the guy fun to root for.

Unkyd said...

I love this!!

Anonymous8 said...

I read over the days posts and someone said Amber Theoharis is still with the MASN. Starting to think the majority owner of MASN is sending a message to the Nats that cost-cutting is taking effect in Washington and Debbi Taylor is a cost cutting casualty.

That MASN Gio Gonzalez news conference studio show was all Bal'morons with Tom Davis and Dave Johnson and Mel Antonen. They did fine and were complimentary of the Nats but lets face it, they are Orioles guys.

Guess they didn't want to pay our post-game guys Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday.

SonnyG10 said...

Arlington BigFish, no you're not the only one who thought Debbie Taylor is cute. I also thought so. I will miss her, but she really could have used more variety in her questions. Something other than "How great is it to..." or "How important is it to...". I'm sure its not easy to come up with good questions on the fly; I know I couldn't do it.

As for Gio, wow! I'm really looking forward to seeing him pitch. GYFNG!!!!!

SonnyG10 said...

Anonymous8, good points. I really wish we were rid of Angelos. He makes me so angry just thinking about him.

Anonymous said...

Gio--very impressive.

Farid @ Idaho said...

It's too bad that Elijah Dukes couldn't make it at the big league level.

In his first season with the Nationals, his numbers--projected out to 550 at-bats--would have been:

.264/.386/.478, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 26 SB

In his second year, his power numbers were skewed due to injury but I think there is little doubt he would have been a .255-27-90 guy (if only he could lay off those outside curves).

Not saying I wish he was back, but I do wish he could have cleaned out the cobwebs and had a good career.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ingredients = the depth of prospects paid for by paying over slot for guys like A.J. Cole.

Section 215 Row A said...

I am reluctant to make any kind of negative comment after watching Gio's glowing positivity, but Debi Taylor was annoying as Clint. Actually, Clint is more annoying but it was close.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only Nats fan who thinks Debi Taylor is kind of cute?

I've seen her up close in person a couple of times and she's actually better looking in person than she is on TV. That's not always the case.

Feel Wood said...

My only regret in the Prince Fielder non-signing and the Debbi Taylor firing is that we'll never hear this question:

Prince, how disappointed are you that Scott Boras was not able to get you a promotion to King in your contract?

lefty1950 said...

While Debi Taylor was okay, the real problem was going to her for a report while the game was going on. So while we were listening to her report (usually well done) we were missing the action on the field.

natsfan1a said...

I don't follow hockey but my understanding is that neither were Caps fans (except for the die-hards), until they started winning. I'm just saying...

I also hope that he wasn't spoiled at the Caps game last night to think that Washington sporting events = packed houses of fans following every sescond of every play and screaming their hearts out in unison. Nats fans are not quite there. Yet.

natsfan1a said...

Being a gal and all, I didn't put a lot of thought into whether or not Debbi Taylor was cute. Regardless of what one thinks of sideline reporters (I'm looking at you, Ken Rosenthal), she seemed like a very nice lady and I hope she lands a job somewhere else.

LoveDemNats said...

Gio is going to be a real asset to the Nats, both on and off the field. Rizzo is looking at character, and how they will fit into the clubhouse. The Nats played great the last two months of the season, really a bellweather for 2012. Looking to attend a playoff game at the ballyard on S.Capitol St. this October. Go Nats!!

RPrecupjr said...

Not trying to be FeelWood here, but it's "bellwether". The only reason I point this out is because it's the word that made me come in 2nd in the 8th grade spelling bee....and I spelled it the same way you did. Sigh.

In other news, only 3 1/2 weeks to go!!

Post a Comment