Finally, Adrian Gonzalez might soon join the Boston Red Sox. Finally, the Red Sox Nation might claim the Gold Glove slugger as their own. While no deal seems imminent, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that trade talks between Boston and San Diego are progressing.
Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein and Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer, Epstein's former right-hand man, seem to be building toward a deal that would send Gonzalez to Beantown in exchange for a fistful of Boston's top minor league prospects. As Hoyer enjoys intimate knowledge of the Sox' farm system, he appears uniquely poised to demand only the best prospects for his All-Star first baseman.
Accordingly, such talented young players as pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielders Ryan Kalish and Reymond Fuentes could find themselves on the Friars' farm before Christmas.
A potential Red Sox-Padres swap for Gonzalez has been bandied about for several years, as Epstein's desire to acquire San Diego's pride has been as well documented as his longing for Seattle's Felix Hernandez. Although the Mariners could afford to lock up their young ace to a long-term deal, the Padres have been in no such financial position regarding their young bomber.
In fact, were it not for San Diego's surprising success in 2010, Gonzalez might have been dealt months ago.
As it now stands, Gonzalez hits free agency at the end of 2011, and there still remains a strong possibility Hoyer will cling to him until the July trade deadline before cashing him in as trade bait. However, the longer Hoyer waits, the less impressive a haul Gonzalez will likely command.
Hoyer and the Padres could retain Gonzalez through 2011 and let him walk, collecting a first-round draft pick from the signing team (and a supplemental pick), but that would be unwise. Draft picks can rarely be as attractive as proven top prospects, and receiving a single pick pales to grabbing multiple players under team control. Add to that the fact that the Red Sox would likely be the team to sign Gonzalez anyway, letting him walk becomes even less desireable as the Sox likely won't rank high in the draft order.
If, indeed, the Red Sox and Padres are marching toward a deal, it should benefit both parties.
As far as Gonzalez is concerned, the 28-year-old lefty is a career .284 hitter who owns an 875 OPS, has averaged more than 30 homers and 100 RBI over the past five seasons and has earned three All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves.
One way or another, Gonzalez will command big money moving forward, and the odds are it will be with the Red Sox.
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