Jump to content

Adrian Gonzalez wants massive contract


Recommended Posts

Jake Peavy is planning a prison break.

He wants to spring Adrian Gonzalez from the Gaslamp Gulag known as Petco Park. He wants to free the oppressed slugger from the cruel, unusual and harshly low-profile punishment of playing for the Padres. He thinks Chicago could be A-Gon’s kind of town, has actively lobbied White Sox management to make a deal and says he is “disheartened” by the state of his former ballclub.

“Adrian wants to win — I can tell you that,” Peavy says of his ex-teammate. “If it means leaving San Diego, he won’t think twice about doing that. I can promise you that.”

Inasmuch as the White Sox won exactly four more games than did the Padres last season, Peavy might be guilty of laying it on a trifle thick. Inasmuch as Peavy initially vetoed a trade to the White Sox last summer, thinking twice would appear to be par for this particular course.

Yet with the Padres likely to trade their All-Star first baseman this year, prospective suitors are assuming their positions and preparing to pounce.

It’s not every day — or every decade — that a Gold Glove winner fresh from a 40-homer season finds himself on the block with two years remaining on a below-market deal. But with both Padres CEO Jeff Moorad and agent John Boggs expressing pessimism about negotiating a contract extension, the over/under on Gonzalez’s departure date would seem to be on or about July 31.

That’s baseball’s midseason non-waiver trade deadline, and the point at which prospective deals figure to start yielding diminishing returns. That’s the point by which the Padres should commit to competing for the 2010 playoffs or pull the trigger on a Gonzalez trade.

More than a month before Opening Day, baseball’s bargain-hunters are already salivating in anticipation of a blue-light special on the most pitched-around player of 2009. For now, the vultures are in a holding pattern, awaiting a signal that the Padres are resigned to being spectators during the pennant race and are ready to deal. For now, the White Sox are but one of several teams in need of a big left-handed bat and in possession of the financial flexibility to add one. (The longest-running rumor involves the Boston Red Sox.)

The bidding is bound to intensify as the season progresses.

“This is a premium ballplayer,” said John Boggs, Gonzalez’s agent. “If you think you can get it done, he’s obviously somebody who’s moveable …

“I never try to dissolve the possibility (of a deal with the Padres), but I don’t see any signs.”

Boggs said his preliminary discussion with Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer was so superficial that “you couldn’t characterize it as a negotiation.” Boggs said Hoyer inquired as to Gonzalez’s expectations; that Boggs cited the eight-year, $180 million deal of New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira, and that that comment effectively ended Hoyer’s exploration.

Moorad subsequently sent an early-warning signal to anxious fans: “While I’d be thrilled to have (Gonzalez be) part of the organization for the long term, the early signals indicate his cost will be greater than our ability to pay.”

Moorad made that statement in an interview on Feb. 2. When it comes to the Padres’ payroll, though, every day is Groundhog Day.

Moorad is sensitive to the continuing scuttlebutt that his partnership is underfinanced, and says he is on schedule to make the next installment payment on John Moores’ ownership stake later this month. Moorad also projects payroll growth as his young ballclub matures, but that growth figures to be too gradual to accommodate a Gonzalez extension and certainly insufficient to keep up with the Steinbrenners.

If Adrian Gonzalez expects to be paid like Mark Teixeira, he’s going to have to go somewhere else to get it.

“We are not going to comment on player negotiations,” Hoyer said yesterday via e-mail. “Adrian is under contract for two more seasons with the Padres and ongoing dialogue about the status of extension discussions can only serve as a distraction to the team and to the player.”

Technically, Gonzalez is locked up only through the 2010 season at a salary of $4.75 million. Though their decision appears to be virtually automatic, the Padres have yet to exercise Gonzalez’s $5.5 million contract option for 2011. In the event of a trade, Gonzalez would be entitled to an additional $500,000.

In the event of a trade to the White Sox, Jake Peavy might be in line for a commission.

“It was definitely out of the blue,” Gonzalez told the Union-Tribune’s Chris Jenkins yesterday in Arizona. “Mainly, I was telling my wife, ‘It’s kinda nice to hear an ex-teammate think that highly of you to think you can help their team.’ But I can’t control any of that. That’s not a subject I’m gonna talk about because it’s not something in which I’m involved …

“I’m gonna tell everybody the same thing, because it’s the truth: I don’t have any control over it. You can come and ask me, but you’re not gonna get anything out of me, because I’m not the guy to talk to. You want to talk about my situation with the team, talk with Jed (Hoyer) and the guys up there, because I’ve got no say in it.”

If he’s looking for Teixeira money, that’s about all that needs to be said. The Padres have never played in that league, and are unlikely to start now.

“You always shoot high and adjust to the marketplace,” John Boggs said. “Who knows what might happen? When Jeff (Moorad) was in Arizona, everyone thought the Diamondbacks had no money, and they signed (Troy) Glaus and Russ Ortiz.

“Who knows? He might be saving something.”

That would be doubtful, but not disheartening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't know what "that good" is, but Gonzalez would likely put up Tex-sized numbers in any stadium other than Petco Field. If he's not as good as Tex, he's only a hair behind, and younger too.

If you buy the conceit that Texieria was "worth" the contract he got, then Gonzalez probably would be "worth" something similar. That said, I think Texiera's contract was an exception because the Yankees were involved. Without their presence, it's unlikely Gonzalez will get nearly as much. But he will get a huge contract.

OPS+ over the last three seasons:

Albert Pujols 178

Mark Teixiera 150

Adrian Gonzalez 143

Justin Morneau 128

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...