While you were sleeping: Adrian Gonzalez-to-RedSox heats up *UPDATED*

SI’s Jon Heyman chips in:

  • @SI_JonHeyman: multiple reports, including early one from @ScottMCBSSports, say gonzalez trade is close with #redsox. source says boston his 1st choice

And that Heyman-related tweet:

Other tweets of note:

  • @NCTPadres: Just was told #Padres-#RedSoxdeal would only involve Adrian Gonzalez and is “close.” No Heath Bell. #MLB
  • @GordonEdes: Source: Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres talking Adrian Gonzalez trade – ESPN Boston http://es.pn/fI5L2K
  • @davidwadeWBZ: AGon: “I’ll have what Teixera is having, Thanks.” RT @Buster_ESPN: Sources: MLB approves a negotiating window for Sox and Adrian Gonzalez.

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So here’s what would scare me, if I were a Sox fan:

Starting Wednesday, Padres All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will begin the rehabilitation process on the right shoulder he had surgery on three weeks ago.

Gonzalez, who has been wearing a sling since having surgery to repair his right labrum, is expected to be ready for Spring Training in February, though there’s no telling when he’ll be able to start swinging a bat.

Gonzalez told the Padres’ flagship station, XX 1090 AM, this week that he might not be able to swing a bat for “four or five months.” The four-month milestone would occur a week into the start of Spring Training

Now, there’s little question that this would be a truly GREAT move for the RedSox to land a guy as good as Gonzalez. A stud at the plate and in the field. The Sox will have to part with several of their very best non-major league talent (ie: not Bard, Ellsbury) AND pay him a Teixeira-like contract.  That’s the old Johan Santana double-dip. Mike Axisa at RAB hits on this point, too:

Just look at how much the failure to sign Mark Teixeira has impacted the Sox. They had to trade three young players to the Indians for Victor Martinez in 2009 to make up for the lost offense, and now they have to deal even more young players to San Diego to fill the first base hole long-term. And they’re still going have to pay Gonzalez a boatload of money as if he was a free agent. Sucks for them.

I’m no doctor but the labrum surgery scares me. Probably not enough to not do the deal, but enough to lose some sleep over an 8 year deal, or whatever it will take to keep Gonzalez given the dumping of high-ceiling prospects.

What’s got me chuckling a bit is the early “OMG, the Yanks need to sign Lee AND Crawford/Werth RIGHT NOW” reactions. No, the Yankees to not need to overreact to a Sox trade.  The Sox were a very good team going into 2010 that got derailed by injuries yet STILL managed to put up 89 wins. A healthy Sox team with the addition of Gonzalez makes them legitimately imposing, particularly if their pitching returns to form (looking at you, Beckett and Lackey).  However, unless the Yanks can get a boatload for Gardner (to make room for a FA outfielder), there’s no need to overreact. Stand down, friends.

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Yo Adrian!

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

28 thoughts on “While you were sleeping: Adrian Gonzalez-to-RedSox heats up *UPDATED*

  1. moooose

    I'm not a doctor, either, but if this is one of those injuries that takes a year or two to get back to form, I'd rather have the long contract than a shorter one. If he's feeling great in 4 years, who knows that the market will look like then during his walk year?

    • It's his non-throwing shoulder, but as a lefty, it's his front shoulder when batting. That has to impact follow-through, no?

      It's a good deal and solid risk for the Sox, no question!

      I just can't bear to hear the overreactions from Yankee fans who will now want the team to buy every player available

      • Brien@IIATMS

        Honestly, I’m not even sure this deal makes them better in 2011 than they were in 2010. I definitely don’t think it does if they don’t add another bat.

  2. Marc

    We need Lee and Crawford right now!!!

  3. Marc

    Seriously, though. Can't see why the Pads are trading him. Still cheap, great unexpected solid team season, hometown talent and local boy success story. If theyre granting the Red Sux a negotiating window, why not have held him until at least midseason. Pads have a hard time drawing fans now. After dumping Hoffman, Giles, then Peavy, they literally have no one left with any draw power. Sounds like a good deal for soon who has been chasing him seemingly forever, but still seems odd to me.

    • JEnotJEJE

      To be clear, the Pirates are not near the bottom in MLB attendance. The club finished 18th out of 30, drawing 2,131,774 fans.

      As for re-signing Gonzalez, why would Hoyer divert up to one-half of its payroll on a single player?

      Also, any changes in the CBA next December may impact the current free agent compensation system.

  4. Sabrina

    The Sox are a scary team when healthy. Adding Gonzalez, another unhealthy player as of now doesnt scare me at all. Plus didnt Victor Martinez sign with Tigers. They are trying to make up for lost offense.

  5. LarryAtIIATMS

    This is probably a great move for the Sox, and it probably does strengthen their team, but maybe not by quite as much as I first thought before I looked closely.

    First point is that first base is probably the easiest position to fill in the off-season – yes, Gonzalez is clearly the best player available at that position this off-season, but there always seem to be premium first basemen available. For example, Prince Fielder should be available before too long. If you can get a good first baseman in free agency, why pay the price to get one by trade? Especially if the guy you're getting is 29 years old in May.

    How much stronger will the Red Sox be with Gonzalez? In effect, the BoSox are swapping Gonzalez for Adrian Beltre (it seems obvious that Beltre will not be playing in Boston in 2011). The Red Sox would be THRILLED in Gonzalez put up the kinds of hitting numbers they saw from Beltre in 2010. Of course, Beltre probably won't repeat his near-MVP 2010 performance in 2011 … but the BoSox might have retained Beltre at less than the cost they're paying Gonzalez, while at the same time retaining the three prospects they're trading to San Diego. I'm not convinced that the upgrade represented by Gonzalez over Beltre is worth the cost the Sox are paying.

    I'm also not convinced that Youk is the 3B of the Sox's future. If you go by FanGraphs UZR/150, Youk is a reasonably good third baseman (3.5 over the last three years), but he's never played full time at 3B (2 games there in 2010, 63 games in 2009, 36 games in 2008), and I question how he'll hold up there over a 162-game season. In contrast, Youk is a top-fielding first baseman, a much better defender there than is Gonzales (again, according to FanGraphs UZR). It looks to me like the Sox will be worse off defensively both at 1B AND 3B in 2011, compared to 2010. (So much for "run prevention"?)

    The BoSox will be giving up their number 1, 3 and 6 minor league prospects, as ranked by Baseball America last month. That's a heavy price to pay for Gonzalez, particularly since the Red Sox are also about to sign Gonzalez to free agency-type money for a long, free-agency style contract term. To help translate, the numbers 1, 3 and 6 prospects on the Yankees are Jesus Montero, one of the "killer B" starting pitchers (Dellin Betances) and Austin Romine. I don't know that I'd be happy to see the Yankees make this trade, even if the Yankees needed a first baseman.

    Then there are the usual things to worry about: how Gonzalez will handle the pressure of playing in Boston, how well he'll adjust to American League pitching, and so forth.

    I think this is a good move for Boston, but it doesn't change my overall perception of their team. They were very good before, and will be very good afterwards. By the way, I will NOT have this same reaction if the Sox add Carl Crawford — that would be a HUGE upgrade for them.

    • Colins

      You also have to take this entire trade is similar to what we did in '08 had an off year and went out spent like crazy people. Maybe the management in Boston is feeling that same pressure especially when you consider Martinez and Beltre leaving.

      Its similar to what we almost before the trade deadline, knowing that pitching was a concern and ready to give up Jesus and more prospects for 2-3 month rental on cliff lee.

    • Brien@IIATMS

      I would flip out if the Yankees made that deal a year before Gonzalez and Fielder are going to be free agents, but to put it in a little bit more perspective, none of these Red Sox prospects are as good as the Yankees at their corresponding number. And none of them are anywhere close to Montero at the moment.

    • Mark Smith

      Yeah, I'm not convinced this was the best move the Red Sox could have made. However, I'll mention a few things.

      1) Giving up a lot of prospects is easier when you know you'll hold onto the guy you're getting. Gonzalez is "certain" to produce 4-5 wins a season during that time, but those prospects could do a wide range of things.

      2) If you don't promote many prospects or really have a spot for them, why not trade them for a guy who is one of the 3-5 best at his position?

      3) Yes, the Red Sox could have re-signed Beltre, but that would have precluded them from signing any 1B next season. And I really doubt Beltre gets anywhere close to having a similar year to 2010. Remember, it's not about replacing last year's production but amassing the most for 2011.

      But I do agree that three prospects is a lot to give up, but A) the Red Sox have a lot of picks coming their way, B) they have a lot of lower-level talent, and C) prospects don't usually pan out. On to the last comment about Crawford, I'd rather have Werth. A lot of Crawford's value comes from defense, which will be mitigated by the weird left field in Boston. Werth is usually around +30 offensive runs versus Crawford at +20 or so

  6. Colins
  7. Brien@IIATMS

    Does this seem like a panic move to anyone else?

    • forged

      It does a bit. Although the rumors have been on and off with them chasing Gonzalez for a while now.

    • LarryAtIIATMS

      Not me. I'm with Mark on this. I think the BoSox weren't interesed in any old WAR-producing 1B, they wanted THIS GUY. SD was going to trade him before he hit free agency, for certain by the 2011 trading deadline, so the only question was whether the BoSox could have done better if they'd waited until then. I don't see any reason for waiting.

  8. Mark Smith

    I think the Red Sox just really, really wanted him. I'll give Theo the benefit of the doubt on panicking.

  9. JEnotJEJE

    FWIW, Marc Normandin weighs in on Gonzalez playing home games at Fenway:

    "Just how much has Petco affected Gonzalez these past few years? At Baseball Prospectus, we have translated lines that take park effects into account, and spit out a line in a neutral location. From 2008 through 2010, Gonzalez’s actual lines were .279/.361/.510, .277/.407/.551, and .298/.393/.511. The translated lines for that same time frame: .300/.379/.554, .311/.434/.612, .321/.417/.555. That is a significant difference in production, and explains why Boston was so willing to go after Gonzalez all this time. Throw in Gonzalez’s road line of .310/.390/.599 over the last three years, and you get a good sense of what the Sox can expect from him–Petco basically kept Gonzalez from looking like the kind of player he is, which is someone like Joey Votto."
    http://redsoxbeacon.com/2010/12/adrian-gonzalez-r

  10. RabidWookie

    The pitching is much better in the American League East than it is in the National League West. A-Gon will, I suspect, have a tougher time facing the Rays, Yanks, Orioles, and Blue Jays pitchers 46 games per year than he did facing the Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, and Diamondbacks.

    • RabidWookie

      Scratch that, 62 games per year. I think.

      • JEnotJEJE

        Minus the Padres, here is the NL West's 2010's ERA+: Diamondbacks, 89; Rockies, 112; Dodgers, 96; Giants, 121.

        Minus the Red Sox, here is the AL East's 2010 ERA+: Orioles, 93; Yankees, 106; Rays, 104; Blue Jays, 99.

        • JEnotJEJE

          To be sure, the American League's average ERA was 4.14, compared to the NL's 4.03. Nonetheless, your claim that "pitching is much better in the American League East than it is in the National League West" seems far-fetched.

          If I am Gonzalez, I would rather face the Yankees pitching staff in NYS than the Giants starting rotation in AT&T.*

          * I don't doubt that the Yankees' ERA+ will improve with Cliff Lee on the roster.

          • RabidWookie

            It's hard to use a formula to compare NL pitchers and AL East pitchers, because the variance can be so great. There are lots of successful NL pitchers that flat-out can't handle pitching in the AL, let alone the AL East. And when a quality AL East pitcher moves to the NL, they usually become dominant.

          • colins

            Thats a horrible use of stats…..its the same has saying overall Win% difference between AL East and NL west is only 2% so AL east is not the most dominant division.

          • JEnotJEJE

            I did not claim that those numbers to be sacrosanct, Colins, but I was disputing RabidWookie's unsupported contention that AL East pitching is "much better" than the NL West. What statistical evidence do you offer to support his claim?

  11. LarryAtIIATMS

    Hardball Talk says deal is off. http://bit.ly/gCfWqQ

    • What a wild turn of events!Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • colins

      Saw that. Think they will go back to Beltre? Boras is definitely going to hold them by the balls if they do right?

      • LarryAtIIATMS

        Let's discuss on the "deal's off" post.

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