|Gonzalez’ agent: Extension agreement with Sox expected in April||03.22.11 at 5:05 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Boggs, the agent for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, said that he and fellow Gonzalez representative Tony Cabral met with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and Assistant GM Ben Cherington on Tuesday to resume their December conversation about an extension for the former Padres star.
Boggs said that the Sox want Gonzalez to demonstrate the health of his shoulder once regular season games get underway, and that there remain relatively minor issues — including contract language and both performance and award incentives — to work out. That said, he said that he is entirely confident that a deal will get done along the lines of the parameters that were discussed by the Sox and Gonzalez prior to the completion of the 4-for-1 trade that brought the first baseman to Boston from San Diego.
“At the end of the day everything has been as expected. We sat down and discussed where Adrian is at. I just think it’s going to move very positively in the direction of probably trying to get something done sometime in April,” said Boggs. “The main thing is the health issue. When he’s seen to be every day playing competitively in a championship season I think they’re going to have a degree of comfort and obviously that will be a time to probably get something done.
“Prudently probably on their part, they just want him, to see him play back-to-back-to-back-to-back, get into the season, then say, ‘OK, we’re good to go,’” Boggs added. “I would anticipate something around April. When in April, I don’t know. It could be beginning, middle, end, but that’s it. That’s really the parameters we’re looking at. If something drags it on past that, then yeah, we’ll probably have to revisit a lot of things, but I don’t anticipate that at all.”
Of course, twas not always thus. For a time during the negotiations with the Sox in Dec., Gonzalez and Boggs were ready to walk when the Sox suggested that they were unwilling to meet what the first baseman declared to be his asking price. However, once the Sox said that they were willing to meet the first baseman’s asking price, he agreed to use that figure as the frame of reference for further negotiations once spring training and the season got underway. He did not feel a need to let the contract situations of either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder — a pair of first basemen who could push the market for the position north — impact his talks with the Sox.
“Adrian in his mind, he knew what it was going to take, bottom line. He wasn’t concerned with chasing after or breaking records. He just wants to be fairly compensated,” said Boggs. “Obviously we walked away at their last offer and that wasn’t it. He had a bottom line and he felt that he had cut it to the bone and then when that wasn’t met, we were ready to get up. At that point, it was pretty significant money also but at the end of the day, he gave his word that wasn’t going to play. The market was going to be the market, as it was in December. Yes, you think that you’re giving away something that might or might not happen.
“In the end, I think he’s said it the clearest, you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you don’t want to play for or you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you want to play for and is in competition every year. that’s really what his goal was. To be treated fairly and be compensated fairly and be on a ballclub that is year after year competitive. I think that was his goal and after that, if he feels that it’s fair financially, he’s good to go.”
In the end, the two sides decided that the best way to move the deal forward — without getting bogged down by potential health-related contingencies — was to conclude a deal once Gonzalez had demonstrated his complete return to health following a surgery that was meant to ensure that the first baseman would be in position to play the 2011 season — and beyond — at full health.
“We knew there were going to be caveats, there were going to be contingencies because he was coming off of surgery. It wasn’t a hangnail. It was a shoulder,” said Boggs. “You can think of the best scenarios and the worst scenarios and whatever, but the practicality of it was, hey, we’re not going to in essence get anything really decided until we see him play in a championship season and he’s good to go.”
Boggs — a third cousin of former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs — said that while he does anticipate that Gonzalez faces some transitional issues in going from a relatively quiet baseball existence to a new team in a baseball-crazed town and new league, his client is uniquely positioned to handle that transition.
“I think Adrian has the demeanor, the personality, where I don’t think that’s going to get to him at all,” Boggs said. “Adrian has always said, hey, we’re playing a game and if you can’t win, there’s no point in playing the game. So the competition to Adrian, I think, is a stimulant, and it’s something that really gets his competitive juices obviously going so the pressures, I think, of playing in a big city. No, he’s never done it. But I think if you dream about doing it and you’ve got the character and the makeup that it’s not going to get to you in any way.
“I don’t think it will because I don’t think he has real highs and real lows. He’s almost kind of in a steady hum. I think it will be a win-win. Kind of to answer your question, that was concerning, yet, again, I have to remember, hey, this is Adrian. If you knew anybody who had that best personality to handle this situation, he has the best personality to handle this situation. That’s really the long and short.
“The only other thing is, again, OK, it’s a new league, so he has to get used to different pitchers but he’s a baseball player. You still have to throw strikes. some guys are going to be, wow, he’s really got good stuff. it’s going to be one of those new things where, he’ll adjust. And he adjusts better than anyone. He adjusts with injury. He does a lot of different adjustments. I think that’s the success you have as a player. If you have the ability to adjust, you’ve got a good thing going for you.”
Though Gonzalez is returning from an injury, Boggs was unsurprised that the 28-year-old anticipates being able to play everyday, and pursuing his perennial goal of 162 games for his new club.
“At lunch today, I said, obviously this is going to be based on health. Are you feel good playing every game?” Boggs said. “He looked at me like, I don’t know, I ordered a bean burrito in a French restaurant or something. He just looked at me, like, what are you kidding me? I’m going to play. I’m going to play every day. that’s my goal. That’s what it is, 24/7, and if you don’t see him in there on a consistent basis, something’s not right.”
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