Blog Entry

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

Posted on: April 15, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 5:32 pm


By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox will finally sign first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a contract extension Friday.

The deal will stretch seven years and a total value of $154 million, marking the richest contract Sox ownership has handed out since taking over the team in 2002. By waiting until now to consummate an extension, Boston will save millions in luxury tax payments as his contract will not apply to this season's payroll. That allows the three-time All-Star's current $6.5 million salary for the season to stand instead of having his average annual payment of $22 million impact 2011.

"Very grateful for this opportunity,'' Gonzalez said according to the Boston Globe. "Like I said back in December, I'm really excited about being able to play here for the next seven years, hopefully longer, and I just want to thank John Henry and the whole front office for this extension."

That annual value will become the eighth-highest value in the game and just $500,000 behind Mark Teixeira for the third-most expensive first baseman in the game. The overall $154 million value will land A-Gon's deal into the top 10 of most lucrative contracts ever paid, ranking ninth while barely edging Miguel Cabrera. Red Sox teammate Carl Crawford now falls to 11th in total value rankings. 

Gonzalez will receive a $6 million signing bonus, then average salaries of $21 million from 2012-16 and then an additional $500,000 a year in his final two years.

"This is the culmination of a process that started several months ago and we're pleased to get it done,'' said Sox GM Theo Epstein. "Hope this will go down, and I believe this will go down, as a great day for the organization. Adrian's going to make a major impact here for a long time."

The deal was one of the worst-kept secrets in the game even as Boston and Gonzo's agent, John Boggs, scrambled to come up with pithy excuses as to why the extension had yet to be signed when everyone knew exactly why. 

In any event, now that the contract is inked, the lefty will become the highest paid first-baseman Boston has ever had, and only Manny Ramirez's eight-year, $160 million deal dwarfs the Gonzalez contract for most expensive in Red Sox history. The deal also includes a no-trade clause, as Gonzalez can block deals to two clubs, but additionally, any trade cannot flip him to the Yankees.

The problem is, unfortunately, GM Theo Epstein hasn't had much luck in lucrative free-agent signings. Over the last several seasons, if you throw out players who signed extensions while arbitration eligible -- such as Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis -- his track record is spotty. Witness signings of Josh Beckett (OK, so maybe it's a tad early to pass judgment on this one -- and yes, Beckett technically signed an extension but he was in the final year of his guaranteed contract and was going to become a free agent, so he counts as someone who signed market value), Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey, Mike Lowell (technically became a free agent before returning to Boston), Julio Lugo and Edgar Renteria. Even the lone signing of J.D. Drew that's worked out so far has plenty of detractors given the irrational desire of fans to see Drew be more like Paul O'Neill, and the mega-deal handed to Crawford has gotten off to a bad start although no one expects that to continue.

It's difficult to imagine the 28-year-old (29 in early May) not living up to his deal. While he only has one home run to his name so far in 2011, he's already shown enough that fans are excited about Gonzo's potential. And if you look at his numbers over the last several seasons , it's notable how much playing in Petco Park harmed him. Over his last two seasons in Petco, he hit .262/.398/.442 with 23 home runs in 670 plate appearances. His road numbers tell a completely different story, having bashed 48 home runs in 704 PA, hitting .310/.401/.609. Those are massive numbers, and ones certainly worth $22 million annually.

“We had a pretty good idea what we were getting," manager Terry Francona added. "But it’s nice to see it. ... It’s kind of reassuring. You go through a tough week, he’s been so positive. Like I said, he gets it. He understands why we’re here. He gets it, that’s the best way to see it. He understands what’s going on. I think he flat-out gets it."

Gonzalez is currently hitting .268/.362/.439 in 47 PA for the Red Sox. The extension is expected to be formally announced Friday afternoon prior to a game against the Blue Jays.

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Category: MLB

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:08 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

Thats another good point the total team salaries. The Yanks (my fave) always catch the most heat for having the highest salaries, trying to buy a championship, etc. Yet teams like BOS, PHI, LAA, CWS, & Cubs (to name a few on the higher end) also spend a ton and it does hurt the other smaller market teams in being able to land & keep stud players. I'd be in favor of a league salary cap. Just seems like the fair thing to do, right?

Since: Oct 12, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:05 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

The owners should grow an even bigger set than Bud. Owners are the idiots that are sending salaries sky high. It's time for the owners to say no more.

Since: Dec 15, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:57 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

I am thinking he meant aging arms!  At least thats what I'm prefacing my statement on..

Since: Mar 27, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:56 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

Way to go Red Sox- jump on the bandwagon with the Yankees and drive the cost of players so high that small and medium teams can't compete for FAs.  This system in baseball is so wrong.  Hey Bud, why don't you grow a pair, and do something about this unfair situation before it totally ruins the game forever.  Before long, MLB will be like the NBA with only a small handful of teams able to compete.  Sad.....

Since: Dec 15, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:55 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

NY Yanks, you nailed it!  This guy should (and will in my eyes) be a monster this year and for years to come, but the Sox have a knack for picking up that one RIDICULOUS contract (Lackey) when they have an expiring one coming off the books (Drew).. Lester has pitched well, and Bucholz should be OK, Beckett was good last time out, but I won't get excited about it until I see a few of those in a row. Lackey is a Triple A pitcher, his stuff has no crispness or sharpness anymore, he is a veteran not good enough for the bigs, but can come up in a pinch for a spot start or 2 (nice 75 mil investment).. And DiceK, well, I don't think I can say anything bad about DiceK that hasn't already been said.. Unfortunately my optimism for the season is slowly fading away, and although it is only April, it has been a putrid month thus far, and as good as the offense will be, the pitching staff cannot string together those 5 & 7 game winning streaks that are gonna be needed this year... JMHO!

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:54 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

22M a season= 135,802/game - assuming he plays all 162 games.

I don't think any player is worth that much. It's not even a contact sport like football or UFC. Players rest on the bench much longer than in other pro sports. How much cheaper would tickets be for us fans if players salaries werent so crazy? I'd rather see a cap system where a 5 star player makes 1M/yr max. If a player wanted to make more then do product endorsements in their free time

Since: Nov 9, 2010
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

Thats alot of gaurantee money for someone who is a piss test away from getn caught and being suspended. MLB is broken. The money these players are getn is insane. Selig.... retire. Please. Because if there is a commisioner thats a joke its you not Goodell. At lease he runs his league with an iron fist. What have you done.....NOTHING. Afterall you were @ 10 years too late to bust Ramirez. Than you allow other players to get a free pass cuz without them MLB would suffer a huge blow......see A Rod.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:50 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

-----I'm glad you brought up the standings.  180 million far joke of the decade.....what else do u have to say?

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:46 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

You're general premise (that the sox pitchers have been horrible) is a good one, and I'm not here to argue it.  However, your generalization of the red sox hitters as "aging big sticks" is completely off base.  The entire top of the linup, are all in their primes, not exactly aging.  Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, Agon, Youk.  None of those guys could be considered "aging sticks."  The guys that are again, other than Ortiz, wouldn't be considred "big sticks."  Just saying is all....

Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:18 pm

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

As a Yankees fan, I dreaded The BoSox getting Adrian....the guy wa a beast in the NL on a crappy team in a pitcher's park....he may hit 50HRs this season.  On top of that, I like the guy a lot.  But I have one question....Can he pitch?

I know it's a marathon, but if The Sox end April in similar fashion to the first 2 weeks of the season, you will be in big trouble!  None of your aging big sticks will be able to help unless they can muster 8 runs a game...

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