UPDATE: Well, this throws a wrench in the entire post that follows. The deal is off (for now), as apparently the Red Sox and Gonzalez couldn’t agree to terms on a contract.
Gonzalez could still be shipping up to Boston at some point (and we still think that would be an outstanding acquisition for the Sox if true), and some think that not committing to a long-term deal right now could be in the Sox’ best interest anyway. For now, though, the deal is off, as is the celebrating we thought was in order for Red Sox fans. Our prediction, however, is that somehow, some way, Gonzalez winds up in Boston.
The rest of the original post is below.
Today, news broke that the Boston Red Sox are trading for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Yankees and Rays fans should not like this development. Red Sox fans, though, ought to be extremely happy right now. Here’s why.
First off, Gonzalez will turn 29 next season. He’s got plenty of years ahead of him. Second, reports indicated that the Red Sox are working on a long-term deal with Gonzalez, so they have no plans of this being a one-year rental. Third, they didn’t have to give up any major league talent to get him, instead surrendering three of their top 10 prospects according to ESPN’s Keith Law (pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and outfielder Reymond Fuentes).
Oh, and the most important reason to like the Gonzalez acquisition – he’s a great hitter. Consider this past season, when he hit 31 homers despite playing half his games in one of the worst hitters parks in baseball (San Diego’s Petco Park). 20 of those 31 homers came on the road. In 2009, 28 of his 40 homers were away from home. 2008? 22 of his 36 homers were on the road. 2007: 20 of 30 homers were away from Petco. Notice a pattern there?
Fenway Park, meanwhile, according to Baseball Reference’s Park Factor statistic, was seen as a well-above-average hitters’ park each of the last four seasons. Gonzalez easily has 40-homer potential playing half his games in a much, much friendlier environment for hitters – and as an added bonus, he’s become a more well-rounded hitter the last two years, drawing many more walks and posting on-base percentages near .400 both years.
And let’s not forget the Red Sox aren’t done. From the report linked above:
Acquiring Gonzalez, while signing one of two free-agent outfielders, Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, would give the Red Sox their most potent offensive lineup since the Manny Ramirez trade to the Dodgers in 2008 and make clear why they were willing to lose free agents Victor Martinez and potentially [Adrian] Beltre.
Signing Crawford from the Rays would, of course, provide the added benefit of weakening a division rival. Both the most important thing for the Red Sox to do, coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued season, is strengthen themselves. Today, they did it in a big way, and if I were a Red Sox fan, I’d be looking at this as a banner day. The AL East just got even more interesting.