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Adrian Gonzalez on Boston: ‘When you’re traded like we were, they spin it to make you sound like a bad guy’

02.27.13 at 1:23 pm ET
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When Adrian Gonzalez joined the Red Sox via a trade with the Padres after the 2010 season, the first baseman insisted he always wanted to play in Boston. Now, however, Gonzalez insists Los Angeles is where he was “meant to be.”

In an interview with the Orange County Register from Dodgers spring training in Glendale, Ariz., Gonzalez spoke of how content he is in L.A.

“This is the best situation for me. I couldn’t be happier,” Gonzalez said. “[The Red Sox] almost did me, in a way, a ‘€¦ [They] put me in a situation I wouldn’t be in coming from San Diego. I don’t know if that trade could have happened — coming from San Diego to here. It’s almost like it was meant to be.”

Following last season’s monumental trade that sent Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers, Gonzalez was the target of some criticism for his lack of leadership in a fractured Red Sox clubhouse.

“It’s a situation — I guess most places are like that — when you’re traded like we were, they spin it to make you sound like a bad guy,” Gonzalez said. “I think at the end of the day, I had a great time. I had a great experience. I’m really happy for the opportunity to play there. But now, I’m really really happy and excited to be here and really excited about where the team is heading and what we have an opportunity to do here.

“At the end of the day, it’s about winning, and we didn’t make the playoffs [in Boston] and that’s what people focus on. If we had made the playoffs, it would have been an amazing year for me [in 2011]. … Then last year, it wasn’t a good enough year because I didn’t help the team be in contention. That’s what led to the trade. When a team’s not playing well, there’s changes that are going to be made.”

Punto said he can understand Gonzalez’s perspective.

“It’s tough,” Punto said. “When you are one of the elite players in the game, there’s an added layer of pressure. You’re held accountable. In a way, it’s much easier being one of the guys who don’t make as much.

“I think the fans in Boston knew how good he was. We just didn’t get it done as a group. It didn’t have to do with the manager or the atmosphere. … I think he still is [one of the best hitters in the game].”

Gonzalez had a tremendous 2011 season statistically, hitting .338/.410/.548 with 27 home runs and 117 RBIs. However, his numbers took a dip in 2012: In 123 games with the Red Sox combined with 39 games with the Dodgers, he hit .299/.344/.463 with 18 home runs and 108 RBIs. However, the Dodgers are confident he still can produce.

Said manager Don Mattingly: “Let’s look at the two years over there. The first one was .330 or something with 28 bombs and 120 [RBIs]. If that’s bad, we’ll take it all year long.”

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