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Adrian Gonzalez has been on the Red Sox radar for the past few seasons now. 2010 was supposed to be the year where Gonzalez was sent in a blockbuster deal to Boston.
So much for that.
A few things stood in the way of the much anticipated Gonzalez to Boston move. Most notably:
Clay Buccholz, rumored to be at the top of the Padres' wishlist, went and pitched himself a Cy Young caliber season. His 2010 line line,15-6, a 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and K/9 of about 6 has all but guaranteed Buccholz permanent tenure in Boston.
Also, Adrian Beltre had a (second) career year, and David Ortiz is still hitting, giving Gonzalez no clear spot.
Yet the most important, and unexpected, transpiration was the Padres themselves. They sit atop the NL west by 1 game at the moment, and at the trading deadline, were perhaps the biggest surprise team in baseball.
As far as skill sets go, Gonzalez's might be one of the most diverse and valuable in the game.
Gonzalez possesses a fantastic glove. This would much lessen any criticism for moving equally as talented a first baseman, Kevin Youkilis, to third.
Gonzalez has the unique combination of power and discipline (27 HR, 90 RBI, a .305 avg, and a .914 OPS). He also has a sweet left-handed stroke tailer made for Fenway Park. His opposite field ability would pay dividends in his home run total considering the short left field porch.
Whether or not the Padres will be willing to seriously entertain the notion of trading Gonzalez during the offseason remains to be seen. He is under contract for 2011, which means the Padres can hold onto him until the trading deadline of next year if they so choose.
This would allow them the chance to see whether this years success can be repeated twice. A lot could be determined in the last month of the season. If the Padres continue on their current spiral (5-12 in their last 17, including a 10 game lose streak), rebuilding mode in San Diego could kick in a lot sooner than expected.
Failure to make the playoffs would most certainly incline the Padres towards moving Gonzo sooner rather than later. At the same time, a playoff berth and any resulting deep playoff run could make the Padres wait a bit longer.
If Gonzo is not available come wintertime, expect the Red Sox to explore other options. Despite the fact that he is GM Theo Epstein's dream-come-true in a player, the Sox may grow tired of waiting.