|12.06.10 at 11:04 am ET|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Join WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni in a noontime live chat from the winter meetings at the Swan and Dolphin, where you can ask Lou all things Red Sox, including his thoughts on Monday morning’s Adrian Gonzalez press conference.
|12.06.10 at 10:36 am ET|
Padres first base coach Dave Roberts, speaking on Monday’s Dennis & Callahan show, said the Red Sox have acquired a special player in Adrian Gonzalez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“What the Red Sox are going to get is a guy who shows up every single day to play baseball,” said Roberts, who previously played alongside Gonzalez in San Diego. “First and foremost, I think that’s a huge value. He’s all about winning. And that’s why I think he was really excited about coming to Boston and having a chance to compete every single year.”
Roberts said Gonzalez stacks up well against the last big-name free agent first baseman the Red Sox attempted to acquire ‘ Mark Teixeira of the Yankess. “I think Adrian is every [bit as] good as Teixeira,” Roberts said. “And I don’t hesitate in saying that. I’ll start with the easy part. Defensively, I think that Mark obviously gets a lot of notoriety for his defense, but Adrian is every bit as good as that. And I think that [Teixeira] being a a switch-hitter is attractive, but as well as Adrian hits left-handed pitching, it’s really no drop-off. And I think he hit lefties better than he hit righties last year. And also, [Teixeira] played in a bigger market. So, I think that the country is really going to get a chance to see Adrian Gonzalez and what he really can do.”
Roberts did sound one warning to Sox fans, noting that Gonzalez is more like J.D. Drew than Dustin Pedroia when it comes to outward displays of emotion. Said Roberts: “[Critics] might say that he’s not as passionate as everyone else is. I think that’s misconstrued, because he’s a quiet, even-tempered person. And so, people don’t think that he wants it as much as somebody else. If you see him vs. [Pedroia] on a field, the fire is completely different. But that doesn’t mean that desire inside isn’t the same.”
Added Roberts: “He won’t be breaking bats, but he’s going to show up there every single night to play.”
Despite Gonzalez’ mild manner, Roberts said the slugger is “salivating to get a chance to play at Fenway Park” and perform for Red Sox Nation. Said Roberts: “I think that the allure was the fact that the fans, the media, the players ‘ everything revolves around the Boston Red Sox and people really appreciate what these guys do every single day of the season. To be on a stage like that for a professional baseball player is something that, you don’t want your career to go by [without experiencing] that. So, he could not be any happier today.”
As for the Padres, Roberts said the move was not a surprise. “The fans were set up for this,” he said. “We knew this was inevitable. ‘¦ The market that we’re in obviously is not comparable to the market that you guys are in. I think that Adrian, being from San Diego, would have loved to stay in San Diego. But it just wasn’t going to happen.”
|12.06.10 at 10:31 am ET|
ESPN.com reports the Brewers and Blue Jays have agreed on a trade that will send right-handed starter Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee. The report states that the Brewers are trading infield prospect Brett Lawrie to obtain Marcum’s services. The 28-year old was the opening day starter for Toronto this season and compiled a 13-8 record with 3.64 ERA.
Marcum enters a highly needy rotation in Milwaukee. The Brewers ranked 14th out of 16 National League teams with a 4.58 team ERA and .277 opposing batting average in 2010. Meanwhile, the Jays obtain the player that was considered the Brewers’ top prospect in Lawrie. The infielder hit .285 this year with eight home runs and 63 RBIs at Double-A Huntsville. He’s from Langley, British Columbia, and played for Team Canada in the 2008 Olympics.
- White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will reportedly “do anything he can” to re-sign first baseman Paul Konerko. Reinsdorf and other team representatives will meet with Konerko’s agent, Craig Landis, on Monday.
- The Cardinals and Lance Berkman agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman. The team will reportedly move Matt Holliday to right field and place Berkman in left.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pirates’ pursuit of free agent pitcher Brandon Webb has “gone cold.” The Cubs and Nationals, among others, are the teams most linked to talks with the former Cy Young winner.
|12.06.10 at 9:51 am ET|
Walk through the Dolphin’s lobby, ask about Casey Kelly, and you were bound to get a least a few differing opinions. Some were wary of the numbers he ended up with in Double-A Portland last season (3-5, 5.31 ER in 21 starts). Others — including one American League general manager — offered the reminder that pitching at that level as a 20-year-old is no easy task.
But all of that didn’t matter.
Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod liked Kelly ‘¦ a lot. They scouted him. They drafted him. And they had felt a bit more invested in the pitcher’s progress than most outsiders throughout the past season or so. It was for this reason that the San Diego general manager and his assistant had no problem making the hurler a centerpiece in a trade for the face of a franchise.
But they weren’t alone in their infatuation. That’s why it took this long for the apple of the Sox’ eye, Adrian Gonzalez, to don a Boston cap.
According to a major league source, when the Red Sox were talking trade with Toronto in ’09, they refused to discuss the possibility of putting Kelly in any deal for Roy Halladay. That was a common theme when the Sox explored the kind of blockbuster they executed Sunday.
It wasn’t until the Sox finally relented a few weeks ago, and agreed to include Kelly in the trade for Gonzalez, that any kind of true traction could be uncovered.
|12.06.10 at 3:41 am ET|
According to a source close to newly acquired Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez, the idea that the trade from the Padres to the Red Sox might fall through over money never seemed realistic. The reason why such a fear seemed unfounded was simple enough.
“He’s wanted this for a really long time,” said the source.
Gonzalez has been connected to the Red Sox in rumors for, literally, years. The appeal of his all-around package of offensive and defensive talents to the Sox was well-known. That, in turn, made the Red Sox a more appealing option to Gonzalez, as did his familiarity with team officials. Gonzalez was drafted first overall and signed by the Marlins when they were owned by current Sox owner John Henry, and David Finley, the area scout who tracked Gonzalez and recommended that he be taken with the first pick in 2000, is now a Red Sox Special Assistant to the GM.
The appeal of the Sox to Gonzalez goes further. For the first time in years, the 28-year-old will not have the Atlas-sized task of carrying a lineup. (Opponents have often chosen simply to pitch around the slugger, walking him 212 times in the last two years, third most — behind Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder — in the majors.) He will also be able to experience life in a ballpark other than Petco, whose capacious field tends to play like a relic from the days of Old Hoss Radbourn; in Fenway, the source believed, Gonzalez could “easily” become a perennial 40-home run hitter. (Gonzalez has achieved that milestone once before, in 2008.)
That being the case, it came as little surprise to the source that the deal got done after Gonzalez spent the weekend talking to Red Sox officials. The first baseman had heard rumors of other teams’ interest — including the Cubs and White Sox — but Boston ultimately always seemed like the most sensible fit. While an extension has not been worked out, all sides are seemingly comfortable that one will be, likely after Opening Day.
Clearly, this was a deal that all parties — the Red Sox, Padres and Gonzalez — wanted. And now, all that remains is the unveiling at a Fenway Park press conference on Monday at 11 a.m.
|12.06.10 at 2:58 am ET|
According to a baseball source, former Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is exploring the market to see whether he can find a team willing to sign him to a big league deal. If he cannot find such a deal, the source said, Wang would likely return to the Washington Nationals, who are offering the 30-year-old a minor league deal.
Wang, a 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Nats for 2010 that included $3 million in incentives. But his return from shoulder surgery in 2009 proved deliberate, to the point where he was unable to face hitters until the end of the year. There were some promising reports of his performance in Fall Instructional League, but after he’d missed the entire year, the Nationals elected not to tender Wang a contract as opposed to going to arbitration with a guarantee of at least $1.6 million.
The sinkerballer could represent an interesting buy-low option for a club seeking depth in its starting rotation. However, after not having pitched in a big league game since July 4, 2009, it remains to be seen whether his potential upside would convince a club to give him a major league contract that might be needed to woo him away from Washington.
|12.06.10 at 2:19 am ET|
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox never made a formal contract offer to outfielder Jayson Werth before he signed his stunning seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. The Sox, according to the source, “got nowhere near” such figures in their conversations with the outfielder (which included a face-to-face meeting between the player, agent Scott Boras and Red Sox officials last week).
The Sox did have legitimate interest in Werth (hence the meeting), and one team source felt that even if one viewed outfielder Carl Crawford as a better all-around player and a more likely impact player because of his age (he turned 29 in August; Werth turned 31 last May), Werth would still represent the better value in the marketplace based on the idea that Crawford might get a seven- or eight-year deal in the $18-20 million range. The source expected that Werth would get at least five years.
But no one — presumably, except for the Nationals and Boras — foresaw the possibility of a seven-year deal that will keep Werth under contract through his age 38 season. Industry reaction in the lobby of the Dolphin Resort was near disbelief, with the deal being deemed by one source “comical.”
The Sox are in position to spend this offseason, thanks in no small part to the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, who will account for just $6 million and change against the luxury tax threshold this year. Even so, the team would never have gone to the lengths of the Nationals’ deal for Werth and, with his contract now representing the bar for elite outfielders, it will be interesting to see whether Crawford ends up being an option, or if he will command a deal of more years and dollars that would deter the Sox from becoming involved in the bidding.
Werth’s signing did have a significant benefit for the Sox, however. The Sox were anxious to see whether Werth might sign with the Tigers. If he did so (and the Tigers are believed to be in the market for an outfield upgrade), the compensatory draft pick that the Sox received from Detroit for its signing of Victor Martinez would have been bumped from the first round to the second round, owing to the fact that Werth received a higher rating from the Elias Sports Bureau than Martinez.
If the Tigers had added Werth, the Sox’ compensation pick for Martinez would have dropped from the No. 19 overall selection in the 2011 draft to a second round selection, likely more than 40 picks later. But, with Werth not in Motown, unless the Tigers sign closer Rafael Soriano or starter Cliff Lee (neither of whom has been connected to Detroit), the Sox now appear to be in excellent shape to receive their highest draft pick since 2003, in what is expected to be a phenomenal draft.
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