It has been one of the longest gestating deals in sports history, but it finally appears that the Red Sox are set to acquire Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
The two sides have been discussing a deal since last year’s winter meetings, but Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer opted to hold onto Gonzalez for one more season. In recent weeks, it has become apparent to both Hoyer and owner Jeff Moorad that they will not be able to resign the All-Star first baseman after he becomes a free agent following the 2011 season.
If Associated Press reports are accurate, the deal would send top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, first base prospect Anthony Rizzo, and at least two other highly touted prospects in the deal. As the deal is only rumored to be for Gonzalez, Boston will not include reliever Daniel Bard in the trade.
The Red Sox are said to have been granted a negotiating window by Major League Baseball to discuss an extension with Gonzalez before any trade can be finalized, as Boston would want to make sure they can retain Gonzalez for more than a single season in exchange for the package they are sending to San Diego.
The trade will immediately end any thought of Adrian Beltre returning to Boston in 2011, as the move will shift Kevin Youkilis to third base to make room for Gonzalez. However, Boston will continue to pursue either Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth in order to further enhance their line-up. With the commitment they will likely make to Gonzalez, a deal for Werth would likely be more feasible for the team. Werth will also help balance the line-up with another solid right-hander bat.
Boston has seemingly had the inside track on Gonzalez since his name came up in trade rumors a year ago. That thought is enhanced by the fact that Padres GM Jed Hoyer is a former assistant under Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. Hoyer was also heavily involved in scouting both Rizzo and Kelly, meaning he is getting prospects that he is familiar with.
Gonzalez did have shoulder surgery in the off-season and is likely to be delayed at the onset of spring training. However, this is a player that hit 161 home runs, drove in 501 runs, and hit .288 over his five-year career with the Padres, despite playing in the cavernous Petco Park as his home park. He will immediately enhance his numbers and the Red Sox offense in 2011.
– Padres, Red Sox Discussing Gonzalez Trade, sports.yahoo.com
– Adrian Gonzalez, baseball-reference.com