Theo Epstein has made me very happy, as the Red Sox have a 11:00am press conference today to officially announce that they have traded for San Diego Padres’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. This move is the single move I most wanted the Red Sox to fulfill this offseason, as they have been targeting Gonzalez for some time. Although Gonzalez has yet to sign a long-term deal, the Red Sox have offered him 6 years for $120 million. He is reportedly looking for 8 years, paying about $23-$25 million per season, and according to several sources it looks probable that he will eventually sign for a 7 year deal at $22 million per season. Simply put, Adrian Gonzalez is our new Mark Texiera.
I like this deal for many reasons — Gonzalez is young (29), a Gold Glove winning defensive player, and a perennial 30 home run 100 RBI hitter. Although his career batting average is .284, his on base percentage numbers are excellent — he had a .396 OBP last season. Perhaps most overlooked is the fact that Gonzalez posted these numbers in an extremely hitter-unfriendly ballpark with no protection in the Padres’ lineup — as a left-handed hitter his power numbers will likely pop in Fenway Park. This move also sures up a fantastic infield defense, specifically at the corners with Kevin Youkilis’ move to third base.
So what’s the bad news? He’s going to require a big money, long-term deal. If he’s able to agree to such a deal, the Red Sox will then have a core of Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia signed for several seasons — which is great. However, Jason Werth’s signing with the Washington Nationals for 7 seasons at $126 million really hurts the Red Sox’s chances of landing Carl Crawford, who is represented by Scott Boras and is younger than Werth. He’s likely out of reach financially for the Sox now, although if we did manage to sign him it would an unbeleivable lineup. All of that said, the real reason to be excited is a look towards my proposed opening day lineup for the Sox — they still need to add some depth, but this lineup is undeniably good.
1) Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
2) Dustin Pedroia (R)
3) David Ortiz (L)
4) Kevin Youkilis (R)
5) Adrian Gonzalez (L)
6) JD Drew (L)
7) Ryan Kallish (L)
8)Jason Varitek or Jarrod Saltalamacchia (R) or (R)
9) Marco Scutaro (R)
Starting Pitcher: John Lester
That’s a huge reason to get excited, although I still think we need one more significant bat (yes, Crawford would be perfect). Regardless, it’s great to see the Red Sox take such a huge step in the right direction.