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More thoughts on the Sox and Adrian Gonzalez

Dec 17, 2009, 1:20 PM EDT

Adrian Gonzalez headshot.jpgI don’t know that there’s any trade rumor with as little actual merit creating as much buzz, sturm und drang as the Adrian Gonzalez to the Sox business.  Even the most wild rumor-passer-oners in the blogosphere all note that nothing has really happened except the passive acknowledgment of general overall compatibility between the Sox and Padres on this subject. Every report is quickly followed up with a “nothing is close to happening” disclaimer.  It’s a hot rumor because so many people want it to happen as opposed to anything being even remotely imminent.

Or do they want it to happen?  I don’t follow the politics of Red Sox Nation too closely, but Red Sox Monster blogger Dan Lamothe claims that a lot of Sox fans have “freaked out about the Sox potentially parting ways with Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury.”  He disagrees and makes a plea to Theo Epstein to throw Ellsbury and Buchholz over the side in favor of Gonzalez at the first available opportunity.

But is there any chance that such an opportunity will present itself at all? ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that Ellsbury, for one, would not make sense for the Padres:

In a vacuum, sure, you’d love to have him. But Ellsbury is going to be
eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2010 season, and
in 2011-12, he could make as much or more than Gonzalez will make over
the next two seasons. In other words: His salary would become almost an
immediate problem for the Padres, and given that he is represented by
Scott Boras, the Padres would have to assume there would be no hometown
discounts. Ellsbury would be a nice player for San Diego, but he would
be a money pit.

I think that’s right.  The chief appeal of getting a guy like Ellsbury for San Deigo would be that he’s a name player, a Major Leaguer the team would want to show the fans so they don’t revolt during season ticket-buying season after a Gonzalez trade.  He doesn’t help with the cost problem, and given that he’ll almost certainly opt for free agency at the first opportunity himself, he’s not going to talk to the Padres about any contract extensions.

I still think this: if the Padres are going to trade Gonzalez — and it’s not a given that they should — they should do it at the break when there are identifiably desperate teams who will pay heavily in terms of big talent that is under team control for a long time.

  1. fan-exchange.com - Dec 17, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    If you trade Gonzalez then you are in rebuilding mode. The best thing you can do in rebuildling mode is get as many good new pieces as you can. If they got Ellsbury and Buchholz they don’t have to keep them. You could turn Ellsbury into two more good prospects and even Buchholz into two more good prospects. It all depends on your farm system and when you think they are ready. If Hoyer thinks he can compete in 2011 then keep Buchholz and trade Ellsbury. If not til later then flip them both.

  2. ecp - Dec 17, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    Seems to me that what’s really going on is that the Red Sox fans would LOVE to get Gonzalez and sure, they’re horrifed that anybody (read: the media) would propose that they send over Buchholz and Ellsbury for him when clearly Theo Epstein could get it done for Tug Hulett straight up.
    Trades don’t happen simply because a fan base wants a particular player. The Padres do not exist to make the (name the big market behemoth team of your choice) happy and aren’t going to hand over their guy just because somebody in Red Sox Nation says let’s go get him. As the fan of a different small market team, I don’t believe certain other fan bases realize how weary we are of entitlement mentality.

  3. cliff - Dec 17, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    Craig,
    I disagree on the value of Adrian being as much or more later (trade deadline).
    The Padres need young cheap talent. Anybody with an established pretty good first baseman isn’t going for him (Yankees, Cards, Nats with Dunn, Cubs unless they move Lee, Rockies). Likewise, the people who don’t have a chance to compete for at least the wild card won’t get in (Orioles, Nats, Pirates, Royals, Astros, etc.) because they won’t need to give up the young talent for return in the next 2 years. Further, several of the “bad” teams don’t have enough decent young talent to put together for Gonzalez. The teams that are the Padres’ best trade propsects are teams with a need at first and with a good upper minors / young major leaguer crowd. Gonzalez salary will chase NO ONE away, so market size does not eliminate trade partners.
    Now (before spring training), the Braves are a realistic trade partner. Medlin and Schafer is probably better than Ellsbury and Buckholtz on talent and CERTAINLY IS ON COST (6 years of Schafer v. 3 of Ellsbury, 6 years of Medlin and 3 option years v. probably 5 years of Buckholtz with 1 option year). However, the Braves have to get a credible first baseman now.
    Similar situations with the Giants, Mets, Mariners, Rangers and a few more. That is, IF they solve the probelm for the whole year, they can’t go for Gonzalez. Once they commit say 8 million on Nick Johnson or Adam Laroche or Russ Branyan or whoever, they will not make a move for Gonzo unless total incomptence or traumatic injury force them to make the move. So, yes, the Red Sox may be around in August, but who else will be?

  4. Eire - Dec 17, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    Medlin and Schafer better than Ellsbury and Buchholz??? What planet are you on Cliff?? While I agree they are more attractive because of the control an aquiring team would have….I completely disagree on your talent comment. Schafer is a tainted player who still has a lot to prove and Medlin has done NOTHING in the Majors. Stick to womans tennis National League baseball because you’re obviously clueless when it comes to baseball prospects in MLB.

  5. Neal - Dec 22, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    Craig, while the issue of if they should trade Adrian is really problematic, the issue you raise of when is not.
    I agree that it should be before the season.
    The main reason I would agree is because of a question I would pose to you. I believe Adrian now has 4.108 years of service time (He has 3.108 according to COT’s contracts at the beginning of ’09). If that is correct, then Adrian would 5 years of service time sometime in early June.
    Query: If Adrian were traded after he had 5 years of service time, would he not be able to demand a trade prior to the next season? This would bascially negate the club option for 2011. In this situation, could the club acquiring him in 2010 exercise the option if he demands a trade? Would he only agree to not demand a trade if the option is not exercised?
    Or, am I missing something?

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