|12.06.10 at 1:00 pm ET|
It’s something the Red Sox have developed a great reputation for in the past decade – acquiring star players entering their prime. The former ownership did it with Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. The current ownership added David Ortiz and Josh Beckett. And now, two years after losing out on Mark Teixeira, they’ve done it again.
Meet Adrian Gonzalez. He’s a three-time All-Star who hit .298 with 33 doubles, 31 homers and drove in 101 runs in one of the most dreadful parks for hitters in the majors. And he’s a Gold Glove first baseman.
And the best part… He’s just 28.
[Click here to hear Adrian Gonzalez looking forward to Boston in his prime.]
“I’m very excited about that,” said Gonzalez of playing in Boston entering what should be his best seasons. “It’s one of those things where you want to be in the best place and best situation possible when you’re in your prime and I believe this is the best place and best situation.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this town, the city, the fans, the energy the fans bring, just experiencing the city, the ball park, the teammates, everything about the experience is going to be very exciting. I had a great time with the fans and with the organization in San Diego and have nothing but the best to say about them. This is going to be definitely a new experience but I’m very excited about it because there’s going to be a lot more energy at the ball park.”
But it’s not just the atmosphere he’s looking forward to. It’s the marriage of the resources in Boston, like hitting coach Dave Magadan, manager Terry Francona and his understanding of how to become a force in the Red Sox order for years to come.
“The fact that I’m at the position now that I understand my swing, I understand pitchers’ tendencies, I understand how to watch video and analyze video and all those things are going to help, not just with the overall experience but the intense competition and being in playoff-type games all year long,” Gonzalez said.
|12.06.10 at 12:36 pm ET|
San Diego-based agent John Boggs, who represents Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, is hopeful the two sides can reach a long-term contract extension soon. Following the press conference to introduce Gonzalez, Boggs spoke of the give-and-take that will need to exist for the two sides to reach an agreement.
“I think there’s a good feeling of everybody knowing where they are,” Boggs said. “When you get down to the wire, that’s when you basically drill down to the final line, numbers, where they have their standoff, where we have our standoff, there’s enough for everybody to walk away. There’s obviously going to be a compromise somewhere. ‘¦ It benefits everybody to get things expedited, because I’ve got a player that wants to be here.”
The sides reached an impasse in their negotiations Sunday, leading Boggs to believe the Sox would not go through with trading for Gonzalez. The Red Sox later called Boggs as he was set to leave for the Winter Meetings. After the sides reconvened, the team decided their was enough common ground to move forward with the deal.
At the end of the day, I was surprised we couldn’t push through, and when we walked away from it, it’s a bad feeling, but i’s a feeling of, ‘Hey, we weren’t going to bend on our side and they weren’t going to bend on their side,’ and you have that impasse,” Boggs said. “To get the phone call to say, ‘Let’s regroup,’ was something we hoped for, but we also didn’t know how we were going to resolve this thing. Was it to try to resolve some issues and get a deal done, or was it trying to say, ‘Hey, let’s take a deep breath here. We’ve got a great player. We’re going to work something out if you are reasonable and we’re reasonable. Let’s work in that kind of a spirit and go from there.’
“We’re not working in a spirit to get them by the jugular or squeeze every nickel, or set a precedent-setting deal. My job is to represent the player to the best of my abilities. At the end of the day, the player ultimately has given me direction as to what he would sign for, what deal would make him happy and what team would make him happy. … He’s going to do what’s right for him and his family. It doesn’t mean getting the last penny and playing for a team he doesn’t want to play for. It basically means he wants to be compensated fairly and play for a team that he really wants to play for.”
Sox general manager Theo Epstein was comfortable enough with the good faith between the team and Gonzalez’ representatives and wife, Betsy, that they ultimately deemed it safe to move forward with trading Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes, and Anthony Rizzo for the slugger.
“It’s ironic in the end, because through that process and negotiating with [Gonzalez' agents] ‘¦ we reached a point in the end where what actually got the trade done was the fact that we didn’t get a contact done,” Epstein said at the introductory press conference. “There was so much good faith that we were comfortable moving on with the trade with the knowledge that when the time was right, we could sit down and get something done. I think it was an uplifting experience in that way.”
Gonzalez will make $6.3 million in the coming season, the final year of his current contract.
|12.06.10 at 12:30 pm ET|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Padres owner Jeff Moorad has seen a superstar in his prime go to Boston before. In 2000, he was the agent for Manny Ramirez, orchestrating the landmark eight-year, $160 million deal that positioned a middle-of-the-order hitter in the center of the Red Sox lineup for years of his prime.
Moorad is now in a different position. As the man at the top of the food chain in San Diego, he oversees a club that has a payroll in the vicinity of $40 million that has to make the hard decisions to sacrifice such players in order to acquire the prospects who can keep his club competitive for the long term.
But the fact that he has to make such moves does nothing to diminish Moorad’s appreciation for the player. Indeed, he suggested that Gonzalez could make the same kind of impact in Boston that Ramirez did. Moorad has no doubt that the Sox will do what is necessary to lock up Gonzalez for the long haul.
“Yes, in some ways [he is reminiscent as an impact player of Ramirez in his prime]. Certainly the bat will be powerful,” said Moorad. “He also brings a defensive dimension to the game that’s as good as it gets. It’s a great thing to know you have Adrian Gonzalez at first base late in games in August and September.
“He’s one of the top 10 players in the game. I’m certain the Red Sox will work something out to reflect that. He is a class act. He’ll be a proud member of the Red Sox for a lot of years.”
As for the rest of the market, the agent-turned-owner declined to discuss his sentiments about the market-shaking seven-year, $126 million deal that Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals.
“I have a lot of respect for the Lerner family,” Moorad said of the Nationals owners. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to question their motives publicly.”
|12.06.10 at 12:13 pm ET|
New Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was introduced to the media at a Fenway Park press conference Monday morning (listen to the audio here). Gonzalez said the Red Sox were his favorite American League team growing up in San Diego.
“I’m very excited,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve had five incredible years in San Diego. When I grew up, my whole dream as a kid was to play in the major leagues and be a Padre. My second dream was to be a Red Sox. So, I’m very excited. God has been very, very good to me, and I’m just very excited to start this new phase. I look forward to a lot of world championships.”
Added Gonzalez: “Knowing that the possibility of remaining a Padre wasn’t there, this is the best fit for me.”
Gonzalez joked about how he looks forward to playing in a smaller park more suited to his left-handed stroke. “I’m looking forward to Opening Day, and my first fly ball that would have been an out to left field at Petco, I’m looking forward to trying to get to second base at that point,” he said. “And the second part, I’m very excited about the teammates I’m going to have here in Boston. I’ve heard nothing but great things about them. I think it’s going to be a great fit. We’re going to be able to feed off each other and learn from each other.”
Added Gonzalez: “I’m very excited to be a part of this town, the fans. Everything about the experience is going to be very exciting. I had a great time with the fans and the organization in San Diego. I have nothing bad to say about that. There’s going to be a lot more energy at the ballpark.”
Gonzalez said former teammates Dave Roberts and Josh Bard prepped him for what to expect in Boston, and their reports were all positive. Said Gonzalez: “Dave Roberts is one of my dear friends and he’s told me nothing but incredible things about Boston. ‘¦ I’ve gotten to know a lot about the city from his perspective. And I’m very excited about being able to experience everything he has, with the possibility of winning a World Series. That’s the main goal, is to win another World Series and go forward from there and enjoy everything that he’s been able to experience. ‘¦ I know that coming here, it’s the best place to be.”
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said it was important for the Sox to finish the trade before the winter meetings in Orlando this week. “We thought that the competition would intensify for Adrian’s services once we got down to Orlando,” Epstein said.
The GM added that the future is bright for the 28-year-old slugger. “He’s really just entering his prime and can be a staple of this ball club for a long time,” said Epstein, who indicated he now plans to look for a right-handed bat and bullpen help.
Red Sox owner John Henry was at the press conference, and he was asked if the Gonzalez signing made up for the Sox’ inability to close the deal with Mark Teixeira two offseasons ago. “It’s gratifying,” Henry said. “But at the other end, people don’t seem to take seriously what Teixeira said at the press conference, that they were headed to New York from the very beginning, so I don’t think that criticism is justified.”
|12.06.10 at 11:29 am ET|
FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports Royals ace Zack Greinke will accept a trade to any team in the league. This contradicts original speculation that Greinke, who takes medicine for an anxiety disorder, would not be open to a high-pressured environment. Greinke also reportedly had a no-trade list of 15 teams.
One team on that list was the Blue Jays, who contacted the Royals about a trade, according to Rosenthal. Moreover, the Royals are “intrigued” by what the Jays are offering. Still, the Royals need Greinke’s permission before anything can be reached, which they apparently have. Rosenthal does mention that other clubs are “speculative” of Greinke’s changed stance. The Jays’ reported trade of Shaun Marcum should heat up the buzz surrounding this deal.
The Toronto Sun speculates the Jays could potentially land Greinke if they were willing to part with right-hander Kyle Drabek, outfielder Travis Snyder and another minor leaguer or two. Rosenthal’s sources say this type of package would intrigue the Royals. The Rangers, Braves and Reds are among the rumored teams with possible interest in him that aren’t on the list. Unlike the Jays, none of these teams would face this obstacle in trading for the 2009 AL Cy Young winner.
- New Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers reportedly had “extended talks” with the agent of first baseman Paul Konerko. Towers did his best to convince Konerko to join his squad rather than return to the White Sox, who he’s been with for the past 12 seasons.
- Buster Olney writes the player to be named in the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez trade is thought to be a “secondary prospect, not frontline.”
- The Orioles are “getting there” on a deal with the Diamondbacks for third baseman Mark Reynolds, writes Rosenthal. Right-hander David Hernandez is expected to be part of the trade, as Arizona is seeking bullpen help. His inclusion is not certain, however
|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.”
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