Tag:Adrian Gonzalez
Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm
 

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?


By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 4:03 pm
 

AL All-Star balloting update: Bautista tops all



By Matt Snyder


Tuesday, Major League Baseball unveiled the first update on the All-Star balloting for the National League, so Wednesday we found out the American League update. Needless to say, non-Yankees fans won't be happy, but we'll get to that in a second. The big story is that the fans nailed the top overall vote-getter (that goes for both leagues). Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays leads the majors in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS-plus and total bases. You can add top vote-getter to the list for now, because he's gathered 1,261,659 votes. If this holds, he'd become the first Blue Jays player ever to receive the most votes and the first to start the game since Carlos Delgado in 2003.

As things stand now, here are the would-be AL starters: Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson -- yes, those are actually the leaders in votes; I didn't accidentally start listing the Yankees' starters -- Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (DH).

So, yeah. Six Yankees starters if this was the final version. Here are some observations:

- Asdrubal Cabrera trails Jeter by about 260,000 votes at short. I guess I'm not shocked for several reasons. First of all, the voting began pretty early in the season and Cabrera was a relative unknown when it started. Secondly, you have Jeter and the whole chase for 3,000 hits thing going on. Third, it's the Yankees. If this is a lifetime achievement thing, OK, but if we're looking at just 2011, it's egregious. Cabrera's been the big offensive force for the most surprising team in baseball -- one that has the best record in the AL.

- Teixeira's having a big power year and him starting the game wouldn't be completely undeserved, but I'd rather go with Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera there. If you have a problem with Cabrera's off-field issues in the spring, well, vote for Gonzalez or Tex.

- Third could shape up to be a real good battle between A-Rod, Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis -- who were all probably helped by the injury to Evan Longoria.

- Martin is the correct selection behind the plate. Oh, and Joe Mauer's second in voting (tsk, tsk).

- Granderson certainly deserves to start and Cano probably does as well. So Yankees haters need to lay off these guys.

- The outfield voting isn't awesome, that's for sure. Hamilton has been hurt most of the season and sits third. Matt Joyce isn't even in the top 15, nor are Carlos Quentin, Adam Jones, Michael Brantley or Alex Gordon. But Ichiro Suzuki, Nelson Cruz and Carl Crawford are all in contention.

View the full voting results by clicking here.

There are obviously a lot more issues, but it's the initial ballot release and many of the votes were cast when it was released without having a good grasp of how the 2011 season would turn out. Fortunately, there's still time to support your guys and rectify any problems you might have. Voting doesn't end until the end of June.

Click here to cast an online ballot.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 10:14 am
 

Pepper: Harper staying in Hagerstown?


By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Ubaldo Jimenez get his first win and help bring the Rockies out of their most recent slide? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi to talk about that and much more. Click on the video above to watch.

STAYING PUT: This season's MLB draft is less than a week away, and last year's No. 1 overall selection is terrorizing Class-A pitching. Bryce Harper -- who is still only 18 -- is hitting .331 with 11 homers, 36 RBI, 14 doubles, 34 runs and a 1.009 OPS through 50 games. He's even stolen 10 bases. Obviously, with this in mind, there's been lots of talk about when Harper will be promoted to Double-A. Davey Johnson, Nationals senior advisor to the general manager, isn't ready for Harper to make that jump just yet, however. "I see him being there probably, for sure, through the half season," Johnson said. "I am not a big believer in moving guys during the season. Let them put the numbers up so they have an idea of what they are probably required to do every year. Sometimes, when you divide up the season, especially a younger guy, then you try too much to try impress the next group of guys and sometimes that can lead to problems." Kudos to the Nats for staying patient with the youngster, even if it might be tempting to move him along quickly. Still, you have to wonder if Harper gets really hot again -- he has cooled in the past few weeks -- will he just get bored? It feels like you need to challenge a guy without rushing him. (MASNsports.com)

UNFAIR HOT SEAT: Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times defends Ozzie Guillen, who is coming under fire more and more in Chicago for team underperfomance and also for some of his "tirades." Cowley actually compares Guillen to Mike Scioscia of the Angels, saying:
What does a World Series ring won more than five years ago and a career .500-plus record as a manager get you these days?

Well, it gets you a contract extension that runs through 2018 — basically a lifetime scholarship. It earns you the right to be in charge of player-personnel and coaching decisions. And it affords you a payroll that has been over $100 million seven of the last eight years.

At least it does outside of Chicago.

Right, Mike Scioscia?
That's a pretty good point. I don't believe Guillen should be on the hot seat one bit. If management wanted him to shut up, it would have fired him long ago. Plus, a lot of what he says is twisted and misconstrued. Between the lines, I have no idea how you can blame Guillen for the underperfomances of the bullpen (in the early season) and people like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.

'OVERRATED?' SO WHAT: When Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain were told they were voted the two most overrated players in baseball by their peers, they weren't exactly bothered. A-Rod: "So the Yankees are popular? That's good. I've been on this list many, many times and I'm sure I'll be there again next summer." Chamberlain: "I don't care. My bills are paid and I still have a job." Another interesting note is Derek Jeter, who checked in at third. He said he wasn't asked to fill out one of those anonymous surverys, but would decline to fill one out if asked. Kind of makes you wonder the sample of players chosen. (NY Times Bats blog)

VELOCITY DOWN FOR MARMOL: Maybe it was tougher to notice when Cubs closer Carlos Marmol entered Tuesday night with a 1.17 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings, but after his terrifying outing against the Astros -- probably the worst of his career, actually -- Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times points out that Marmol's velocity has been in decline for quite some time. That's probably why he's fallen in love with throwing his wicked slider. Check out this chart. I'll cop to noticing this earlier in the season and discounting it to myself that the weather was still cold --  meaning maybe he couldn't get as loose. I'll also cop to being a Cubs fan and probably trying really hard to convince myself the dip in velocity was meaningless. So the question: Is Marmol injured, overworked or just losing strength? Oh, while we're here ...

CALM CARLOS: Sure, Carlos Zambrano broke a bat over his leg after striking out at the plate Tuesday night, but after Marmol blew the save and wasted a stellar effort from Zambrano on the hill, the once-fiery hurler consoled his teammate: "It happens to Mariano Rivera. It happens to Joe Nathan. It happens to the best of the best. I told him, just keep your head up, tomorrow's another day." (Chicago Sun-Times)

MUST-SEE GIF: Check out -- via Fangraphs.com -- Adrian Gonzalez saving his teammates and coaches from possibly getting struck with a line drive. The man can certainly handle the stick.

TOUGH LUCK LOSER? Look at the line for Jeremy Guthrie and you'll see a complete game with zero earned runs in which he took the loss. He even tweeted that very line, saying, "Accomplished something difficult tonight. Pitched a complete game allowing 0 ER & lost." Of course, if you watched the game or look at the play-by-play, you'll see the loss was actually Guthrie's fault. He made an error that allowed the eighth inning to continue before giving up a single and then a three-run home run by Justin Smoak. I will defend Guthrie a bit here, though. He's got a 3.24 ERA this season, yet sports a 2-7 record now. On his career, he's actually been a quality starting pitcher but had awful luck with wins and losses (40-55, 4.08). He's probably just sick of the stat, as well he should be. There are much better ways to measure pitching performance.

A CALL TO THE Mets: Gary Carter should have his number retired with the Mets, says Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. I'd be fine with the move, especially in light of Carter's health woes, but I think the call-out of the Wilpon family and all of Mets management for not "doing the right thing" for the past 22 years is a bit much. Maybe it's just a convenient time to pile on Mets' management and curry favor with fans, but Carter only had two really good seasons for the Mets. Both were top-10 MVP finishes and one was the 1986 World Series championship season, but the bulk of his Hall of Fame resume was built in Montreal. That said, again, I'm completely fine with the movement. Really, anything that helps Carter and his family find some happiness right now is a bonus.

AWESOME PROPOSAL: Most of the time, ballpark proposals are a bit lame. Not this time, not even close. Check it out and make sure to watch the whole thing. (Hat-tip to Big League Stew)



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Posted on: May 15, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: May 15, 2011 12:55 pm
 

On Deck: We're goin' sweepin'

Giants
OD

By Matt Snyder


As always on a Sunday, we've got a full slate of games. Standing out this time around are four possible sweeps, for varying reasons.

HOT GONZO: The Red Sox are looking to sweep their bitter rivals, and they're looking to do so in Yankee Stadium. A loss for the Yankees would be their fifth straight and a victory for the Red Sox would have them at .500 for the first time since the season began. Still, both large-market groups look up at the Rays -- who have gone 22-8 since a 1-8 start. Taking center stage for the Red Sox is first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. In fact, we may soon be talking about a historic month if he keeps up this pace. He's homered in four straight games (five HRs and nine RBI in those four) and take a look at his stat-line for the month: .345 average, eight home runs, 19 RBI, 1.198 OPS. That's in 13 games. Red Sox at Yankees, 8:05 p.m. ET.

CENTRAL SHOWDOWN: The Reds-Cardinals rivalry continues to gain steam after last season's dust up. The Reds have taken two straight in Cincy and have taken over first place in the Central by a half-game. A win Sunday would assure a sweep and keep them in first. Public Enemy No. 1 (for St. Louis, that is) Brandon Phillips came through with a huge game to help propel the Reds Saturday, and one of the Cardinals' most prominent members in last season's brawl, Chris Carpenter, gets the ball Sunday. Cardinals at Reds, 1:10 p.m. ET.

Tigers, Twins TAKE OPPOSITE PATHS: The longest winning streak and losing streak at present in the majors both reside in the AL Central. The Tigers run 6-0 Max Scherzer to the hill looking to extend their winning streak to eight games. Seeing Kyle Davies take the ball for the Royals means it's a pretty good bet. Royals at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET (nevermind, it's been postponed). On the flip-side, the Twins have lost seven in a row and are -- rather easily at this point -- the worst team in baseball. Injuries have been a problem, but that doesn't account for the dreadful underperformance. Brian Duensing gets the nod for the Twins, as they'll square off against Brandon Morrow and the Blue Jays -- who have won four straight. Blue Jays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:02 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Kennedy outduels Lincecum

Kennedy

By Evan Brunell


Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks -- Kennedy turned in a sublime performance, matching Tim Lincecum with eight scoreless, whiffing eight and walking just three and allowing four hits. Kennedy has really taken a step forward this season and has a 3.23 ERA so far. It's the fourth time in seven starts that the right-hander has pitched into the eighth and he has only had one stinker this year. The 26-year-old has taken legitimate strides this year and looks to be settling in as a long-term No. 2 or 3 starter.

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- A-Gon was widely hailed as the consensus AL MVP prior to the season. A slow start dimmed that star a bit, but his 3-for-6 night with two walks and three RBI -- oh, and those two home runs -- have put him squarely back in the chase. He's now hitting .324/.375/.541 and looks right at home in Boston and has already flashed his defense. A-Gon now has six home runs which puts him in the franchise lead, just one ahead of Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles -- Hardy played in only six games (one as a pinch-hitter) before hitting the disabled list, so this was really his coming-out game for the Orioles. In his first game back, Hardy went 4-for-5 out of the nine-hole (wanna bet he's moved up Wednesday?) and tacked on a home run and a walk for good measure. Hardy's always had the potential to flash an above-average bat for a shortstop; he just hasn't done so in recent years. The Orioles are hoping he ends their revolving door at shortstop for a few seasons. He's got strong defense and will be a coveted free agent once he hits the market after the year. 



Jorge Posada, Yankees -- And the beat goes on for Posada, who is starting to approach a justifiable benching. Posada's start to the year was rife with home runs and while the power is still there, he's shown zero aptitude for getting a hit. After his 0-for-3 night dropped him to .147/.250/.343, the question must seriously be asked: is Posada done? OK, probably not, but he may be done for a while as a starter. The Yankees could promote Jesus Montero before too long, but it's still a tad early to be asking that question. Given we're in mid-May, though, Posada really only has a couple more weeks to turn it around before there are significant repercussions to his slump.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Yeah, so maybe that no-hitter wasn't quite the turnaround point for Liriano. The lefty was right back to being his old lousy self as he lasted just three innings with his control problems re-surfacing with three free passes against just one strikeout. All told, he gave up four runs on three hits (yep, walks will do that to you) to the Tigers. Liriano's no-no has bought him some time, but that leash only got so much longer after his pristine game. If he doesn't turn it around in the next couple of starts, Minnesota will not hesitate to replace Liriano. Oh, by the way, Detroit's Victor Martinez is on fire. A day after being one of the 3 Up hitters, he stuffed the stat sheet with a 3-for-4 performance, driving in four and adding two runs.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- Ew. Cincy was on its way toward a whitewashing of the Astros but had to settle for a 7-3 margin after Chapman relieved Homer Bailey (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K), faced four batters and retired absolutely zip. He didn't whiff anyone but walked three and hit another. After walking in a run, Nick Masset came in and drove the final nail into Chapman's night by giving up a two-run single. That's got the fireballing lefty's ERA all the way up to 4.26 and has given up six earned runs and eight walks in his last three appearances. Dude's certainly screaming out that he might be hurt, no?

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 12:20 am
 

No-hitter alert: Angels no-hitting Red Sox

By C. Trent Rosecrans 
 
UPDATE: Jed Lowrie broke up the no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning, singling to right off Downs. Downs walked Kevin Youkilis to start the inning, then got David Ortiz looking.

In the top of the seventh, Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead.

Ervin SantanaA two-and-a-half hour rain delay and change of pitchers hasn't helped Boston's bats -- as the Angels have a combined no-hitter through six innings.

Starter Ervin Santana didn't allow a hit in the first four innings, striking out seven Red Sox batters in four innings before the rain delay at Fenway Park. Rich Thompson replaced Santana after the delay and held the Red Sox hitless for another 1 2/3 innings.

Thompson was pulled for left-hander Scott Downs, who came in to face Adrian Gonzalez with two outs in the sixth and Jacoby Ellsbury on third base. Downs got Gonzalez to ground out to short.

Josh Beckett gave up just one hit in 4 1/3 inning before the rain delay. Matt Albers allowed two more in his 1 2/3 innings, but no runs have scored.

Dan Wheeler has entered the game for the Red Sox in the seventh with the game tied 0-0.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Braun signs big extension with Brewers

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan BraunThe Brewers have announced a five-year extension for outfielder Ryan Braun through the 2020 season. There's also a mutual option for 2021.

According to CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler, the deal is worth $105 million for those five years from 2016-20, with a $10 million signing bonus. He'll make $19 million from 2016-18, $18 million in 2019 and $16 million in 2020. There's a mutual option worth $20 million for 2021 and a $4 million buyout. He has a no-trade clause and has agreed to defer some of the payments in hopes of helping the owners keep their payroll competitive.

Here are some other notes Knobler passed along:

• Braun and Troy Tulowitzki are the only two players in the game signed through 2020, with two more -- Joe Mauer and Adrian Gonzalez -- signed through 2018.

• The average annual value of his contract is $21 million, the most for any outfielder. He is guaranteed $145.5 million from this season through the end of the contract.

• Now 27, Bruan is now one of seven players signed through age 36 that have spent their entire career with one team, joining Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones and Todd Helton.

• It's the largest contract (by annual average value) given out by a team in the lower third of teams determined by the Nielson Company.

Braun had signed an eight-year, $45 million deal in May of 2008.

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

Red Sox finally extend Adrian Gonzalez

Gonzalez

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
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com