© 2011 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

12/21/11 12:08 PM EST

Nationals actively pursuing A's ace Gonzalez

Washington would send four players to Oakland in trade

WASHINGTON -- Trying to acquire A's left-hander Gio Gonzalez is the Nationals' top priority, according to a baseball source. The clubs are trying to work out a deal that would send four players to Oakland, and it is believed that Gonzalez will be traded soon.

Two of the players the A's are looking at are right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Derek Norris.

Peacock is arguably Washington's best pitching prospect. He went a combined 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this year. Peacock was promoted to the big leagues late in the season and allowed one run in 12 innings.

Norris is the Nats' top catching prospect, but he is coming off his worst season, hitting .210 with 20 home runs and 46 RBIs. The other two players Oakland wants are unknown.

The Nationals are not the only team looking to acquire Gonzalez. The Blue Jays and Red Sox are also heavily in the mix.

If he were to join Washington's staff, Gonzalez would be the ace. This season, the lefty was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA and had 197 strikeouts in 202 innings. He also is not eligible for arbitration until after the 2012 season. He will not become a free agent until 2016.

With Gonzalez as the Nationals' No. 1 target, free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt is not on the club's radar screen even though, according to ESPN.com, he dropped his requests from a three-year deal to a one-year deal. The Nats will most likely consider Oswalt if they don't land Gonzalez.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.