The Nationals traded lefty starter Gio Gonzalez to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, the last day that players can move between teams and remain eligible to play in the postseason. Gonzalez has been in Washington since 2012; during that time he’s gotten married, had a couple kids, and entrenched himself as a beloved, if occasionally maddening, face of the franchise. It was something of a momentous occasion for González, the end of an era:
That very dramatic image was followed in the post-game by Gio donning a Brewers hat and hoodie—the Brewers are in Washington this weekend to kick around the reshuffling Nationals—and meeting the press for the first time as a member of his new team:
The best moment in there is at about the 0:56 mark, when González starts to crumble while talking about soaking in his final moments as a National.
“I made my trip around the stadium quite a few times. I walked down to the bullpen, talked to some of the guys over there, I actually interacted with some of my teammates about it, and it was just, it was emotional. It definitely is. You know, just, I’ve had my—I grew up here. I had my family here, my wife, my kids. It’s just sad to see it go. But I’m happy! I’m really happy. I am happy.”
When Gio looks all the way to his right there to reassure the room that he’s happy, he’s looking directly at Milwaukee’s PR staff, hidden off camera. Yikes! Gio had some good years in Washington—he won 21 games and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2012; he won 15 games last season, with a strong 2.96 ERA—and despite all his baffling inconsistency, he’s been a pretty durable and reasonably successful presence in the Nationals rotation for nearly seven seasons. His crummy 2018 season—a 1.531 WHIP and 4.24 FIP across 27 mostly frustrating starts—is pretty much par for the course for everyone not named Max Scherzer on this infuriating Nationals team, but even Nats fans will be pulling for Gio in Milwaukee.