Update - 4:13 PM: According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Desportes, Gonzalez's extension is worth $42 million over the first five years. With the two club options, Gonzalez could earn as much as $65 million.
So to summarize, they are paying a potential top-of-the-rotation starter an average annual salary of $8.5 million, not bad when you consider the going rate of some starting pitchers in the Major Leagues. Another way to look at it is this: The Nationals had originally hoped to sign Mark Buehrle to a deal worth about $42 million. Instead they got a much younger, arguably more talented pitcher locked up throughout the duration of his prime years.
Amazing work by Rizzo.
Original: The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a contract extension with recently acquired starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, according to a press release just emailed to media by the club. There is no word yet on how much the extension is worth, however we do know that it is a five-year deal with options for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
OFFICIAL: #Nationals agree to terms with LHP Gio Gonzalez on a contract extension through 2016 season, with options for 2017 & '18.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 15, 2012
By making this deal the Nationals secure Gonzalez's presence in the nation's capital for years to come, and in doing so make a statement that the front office is willing to fiscally invest in the team's future. While Washington had club control over Gonzalez for several years to come, the deal allows them to avoid the pesky arbitration process, and tells Gonzalez that the team wants him here in Washington.
You have to believe that this gesture mean's a lot to Gonzalez, who despite his success has had little security throughout his young career. During his time with Oakland, he pitched knowing that he could be traded at any moment. While I'm sure he knew he was a valued member of the Athletics as he sat atop their rotation, there is something to be said about having a piece of paper that says, "we want you here for the next 5-7 years."
We'll let you know more information when we get it.