The Red Sox were involved in trade talks with the Oakland A's for lefty starter Gio Gonzalez right until the end -- when the A's opted for the Washington Nationals' package of three pitching prospects (plus a position player) over the Red Sox' offer, which was more titled toward position players, an industry source confirmed.
Gonzalez, 25, was sent to Washington in exchange for pitchers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris.
A deal with the Red Sox, meanwhile, would have required the Sox to part with four prospects -- each a high-level prospect, the source indicated.
It's believed that Oakland was asking for names such as third baseman Will Middlebrooks and outfielder Ryan Kalish -- among others -- to get a deal done with Boston.
Gonzalez, 26, will be joining the fourth team in his career, after stints with the A's, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. He's won 31 games over the last two seasons and pitched 200 innings in each of those seasons with a combined ERA of 3.18. But he's also walked 183 batters over the last two seasons and his 91 walks in 2011 led all American League pitchers.
Boston's options are now dwindling when it comes to trading for a starting pitcher. John Danks, another A.L. lefty in whom they had an interest, was re-signed by the Chicago White Sox Wednesday, taking him off the market.
A handful of starters remain available in deals, but most have question marks. Houston is willing to move Wandy Rodriguez, but he has approximately 35 million remaining in salary obligations. Atlanta is willing to move Jair Jurrjens, but the Sox are said to have concerns about his health after Jurrjens missed significant time in each of his last two seasons.
Still available are Gavin Floyd with the White Sox and a few members of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation (Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann) could be moved, though the Rays are telling teams they don't need to move either. One American League executive dismissed the chances of the Red Sox and Rays, division rivals, making a deal together.
Even after the Gonzalez trade, the A's aren't done moving pitching this winter. And they're unlikely to be done talking to the Red Sox.
Boston is still very much interested in closer Andrew Bailey. The A's have asked for a package which includes Josh Reddick and others.
For a time this week, a source said, the Red Sox and A's talked about a mega-deal which would have landed the Sox both Gonzalez and Bailey, but A's GM Billy Beane ultimately decided against putting both assets in the same deal, reasoning that he could get a bigger haul if he made separate trades involving the two.