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Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox agree on a seven-year, $154 million deal

Apr 15, 2011, 8:23 AM EDT


Sean McAdam of Comcast New England reports that the Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $154 million extension with Adrian Gonzalez. The team plans to announce the deal at press conference later today.

This has been in the works for a long time. Many believe that it was agreed to in principle several months ago and was being held back due to luxury tax implications (i.e. if it was signed after Opening Day, the luxury tax hit won’t come until 2012). But it ain’t official until the ink is put to paper, and that has happened now.

Gonzalez’s $154 million deal would be the biggest contract John Henry has given out since taking over the Red Sox and the second biggest Red Sox contract ever, after Manny Ramirez‘s $160 million deal. And in my view, it’s a good investment. Gonzalez seems tailor made for Fenway, and he is one of the best defensive first basemen in the game.

  1. markfrednubble - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    Craig, Manny was signed by the previous regime and inherited by John Henry’s group.

    It may be hard to think of $22m a year as team-friendly, but I wonder if this may be the most team-friendly deal ever signed in the rare air above 20 million a year. In a few months, Albert Pujols will presumably hit the market and the conversation could be in the high 20s or even $30 million per year. Pujols is 31. Gonzo is about to turn 29. If the widespread projections about Gonzalez’ Fenway production come true, this could turn out to be a very good contract for the Red Sox.

  2. bcjim - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    As long as the Sox are throwing money away, can I have some?

  3. Lukehart80 - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    The rich finding a loophole in the financial system to avoid paying taxes that would benefit the less wealthy? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

    Obviously there’s a fair amount of risk in any contract that runs for seven years, but if I were a Red Sox fan I’d be really happy about this deal. Subjectively, Gonzalez strikes me as the type of player who could age fairly well and continue to be a productive player for the duration of the contract and while he might be a bit overpaid at the tail end of it, he ought to be relatively underpaid for the beginning of it.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      Yeah, I feel really bad for the other “poor” owners.

      • Lukehart80 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        I don’t feel bad for the owners, but as a fan of one of the teams that would have gotten some of that money, it matters to me.

      • lbehrendt - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

        Luke, this is not well understood, so don’t take this as a critical comment, but your team does not see a dime of luxury tax money — some of it goes to Bud Selig’s office, the rest to player benefits.

      • Lukehart80 - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        Ibehrendt, I had not heard that. If it’s true, then I guess it matters less to me. Thank you for the information, and for being polite about, as many would not have. At the same time, if that money is earmarked for player benefits, it’s conceivable that Boston’s loophole DID hurt people who could have used the money.

    • henryd3rd - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Can we stop feeling sorry for those billionaire owners? Most if not all have two sets of books. One for the press and players and the other for the IRS. And when one looks closely most made money while crying poverty.

      Plus when all is said and done even “The Little Sisters of The Poor”, i.e., Pirates, Marlins, Padres, Royals are owned by people who asked into this business. None was forced to purchase their teams.

    • lbehrendt - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Quite right Luke. BTW, I was not really being so “nice”. Lots of people confuse the luxury tax for revenue sharing, including some prominent MSM reporters (some guy at the NY Times did it last year, I think). The luxury tax and revenue sharing are two different programs, and it’s revenue sharing that moves money from “rich” teams to “poor” teams.

  4. phukyouk - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:34 AM


    • phukyouk - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      ok I’m sorry. that was uncalled for in this thread. but if the situation were reversed there would be 100+ posts about how the yanks suck and how they keep throwing away money… thats my story and im sticking to it.

      • rsnorth - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

        This isn’t about the Spankees screwyouk!

      • Ari Collins - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        That wasn’t the press when the Yankees gave more money to Tex two years ago.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Ari, I’m sure you are well aware on a per year bases the two contracts (Gonzalez for the Sox and Tex for the Yankees) are virtually identical money wise. Gonzalez’s averages out at $22MM per and Tex’s averages out at $22.5MM per. Tex did get an extra year 8 versus 7 for Gonzalez but Tex was a year younger then when he signed his contract then Gonzalez will be when his starts in 2012. So I’d say the contracts were basically a wash. One thing though that may not be a wash is the Yankees won the World Series Tex’s 1st year with them and he did have a pretty good year in 2009 a .292 BA, .383 OBP, .565 SLG, .948 OPS along with 39 HR’s. To go along with All Star appearance, 2nd in the MVP and both a GG and SS. It remains to be seen how Gonzalez 1st year with the Sox will go. We know how Tex’s went with the Yankees. Those are just my opinions along with some baseball facts.

      • phukyouk - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        first of all i apologized. secondly the Yanks were not 2-9 at the time.

      • lbehrendt - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        Hmm. More like this: imagine if the Yanks had delayed signing a contract extension in order to avoid paying (more) luxury tax … the media would zoom in on how the Yanks had cheated the system, in violation of express provisions of the collective bargaining agreement. And the comments here would focus on the big bad Yankees.

        I’m not exactly outraged by the Red Sox’s cheating here. It’s been widely known for some time how the Red Sox would avoid paying 2011 luxury tax on the Gonzalez contract. The player’s union or Commissioner’s Office can do something about this if they want to, and since it’s the Commissioner’s Office and player’s union that receive the luxury tax money, it won’t bother me if neither decides to act (which is what I’m expecting).

        But we all look at these stories differently when they involve the Yankees. Not that I’m complaining. This is a small price to pay for 27 WS championships.

    • marshmallowsnake - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:40 AM

      Typical Yankee fan…

  5. BC - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Great signing. They pay a premium, but they basically get the equivalent of Mark Texiera if not better, and given the position Gonzo plays, the deal takes him right up to the point where decline might start (age 36).

    • banksatdixie - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      The decline is going to start long before 36. He will likely be a serviceable cog throughout the duration of the contract, but the decline will start long before age 36.

      • bobwsc - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        and what are the winning lotto numbers this week?

      • banksatdixie - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        Tuesday’s were 10, 23, 39, 41, 45, and 15. I’m not sure how what I said was too out there for you. The vast majority of player’s declines start before 36.

      • BC - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        He’s a first baseman. Not a catcher or a shortstop. He stands a good chance of making it to 36 before he starts to tank. And by then, Ortiz will be sipping rum runners on a beach somewhere, so you could always DH him.

      • banksatdixie - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        The keyword here is decline though.

  6. uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Color me surprised that the 2 parties have come to a contract agreement. The Red Sox didn’t give up 3 prospects this winter to the Padres without knowing full well that a contract with Gonzalez was a done deal well before this. Seven years $154MM total $22MM per on average. I’m sure when the specifics come out signing bonus a little less in the early years a little more in the back end of the contact that it won’t be $22MM each year but that’s effectively what it comes out to. I’m sure Red Sox fans will think this is a good deal and they may or may not be right. Effectively Gonzalez will be 30 years old at the start of this contract and it will carry him through his 36 birthday in the final year. Only time will tell if this is a good contract or not.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    It has to be really difficult for Red Sox fans to get too excited about this right now, with the team 2-9 and half their lineup hitting under .190.

    • markfrednubble - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:04 AM

      You’re right, but I for one worried all winter that this contract was not going to be the done deal the media kept calling it. If I were Gonzo’s agent I think I would have kept reminding him that nothing is signed and the open market next fall may well bring north of $25m per year. I worried the Sox would see their November handshake agreement (or whatever it was) blow up in their faces by trying to get cute with the timing and the luxury tax rules. Fortunately for the Sox, I assume the player and his agent truly value the long-term security and want him to be in Boston rather than go through another offseason of uncertainty.

      If Gonzalez goes out and hits 40 bombs, knocks in 130 and contends for the MVP, this deal will look very smart from a team perspective.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      I’m excited about our future core of Gonzalez-Crawford-Pedroia-Youk-Lester-Buchholz, regardlss of how they’ve performed out of the gate. And since this is about keeping more of that core together, I’m still excited about this news.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        Unless I’m mistaken the guaranteed portion of Youk’s contract only runs through 2012 the Sox do have a club option for 2013 however. Don’t forget to add Beckett and Lackey into your “future core” their both under contract through the 2014 season.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        Beckett’s and Lackey’s deals were obvious mistakes at the time. But I’m not sure why you’re bringing them up, I’m talking about the star core of the team. Just as the Core Four that Yankee fans referred to last year was about their stars, not about the financial deadweight the team carries as well.

        Youkilis is the only one not potentially under contract past 2013. If they’re any good, the rest of them will have their options (multiples in some cases) picked up and won’t leave until 2015.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        Ari – I only brought them up because I thought you were talking about players that would be playing together for a relatively long period of time. I apologize if I misunderstood your comment. I do see now where you said “future core” I guess sometimes the brain doesn’t register what the eye sees. But you should know I wasn’t referring to their worth to the team or their cost. As for your reference to the Yankees core four. Unless I’m mistaken and I certainly could be I don’t believe the Yankee core four were referred to that name when they first signed or in their initial years with the Yankees. I believe it was coined after years of playing together.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        True. This core hasn’t proven itself yet. I oughtta say “POTENTIAL star core”, although there’s no reason to think they won’t be now that they’re all signed long term. Unless you think 12 innings and 40 ABs are enough to predict the future.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        Ari, I don’t know if your latest reply is referring to one of my posts but you seem to be getting very defensive. IF your reply is in reference to any of my comments here, I never said the players you are referring to “haven’t proven them self’s”. I only stated Gonzalez value to the Red Sox is yet to be determined and the Yankees “core four” nickname wasn’t coined until after the 4 had played together for a number of years. I believe all of what I said in this post is accurate. Of course my reference to you “getting very defensive” is just my opinion based on my impressions of your current comments. With that I have nothing further to say on this subject, it’s time to move on. Enjoy the Sox game this evening.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        oops, should have been “themselves” in the 3rd line not them self’s. Sorry

  8. psousa1 - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Water seeks its level. Sox will be fine. Just watching Gonzales’s at bats you see he has a plan. Yankees pulled a shift on him – he it one through the SS hole and then bunted down the 3B line. Even most of his outs have been rockets. Him and Pujols are the two best all around first baseman. Without a doubt. As much as I dislike NY that is as much I like seeing Teixeira’s defense. He is a master over there and makes all his infielders better but his numbers last year were about the same as David Ortiz and Teixeira was in a loaded lineup.

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      While water seeks its level, poop floats on it. Another pearl of wisdom.

      • heynerdlinger - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        Just what have you been eating?

  9. ronjon77 - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    His stats are great, he seems like a nice guy but his picture is disturbing. He makes me want to go buy tacos.

  10. icanspeel - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Watching Adrian since he came to the Padres I have to say it was a good deal for the Red Sox. He is an all around great player and when he gets hot watch out.

  11. Jonny 5 - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Wow, after the Werth deal that’s a bargain I have to say. Well at least Werth is helping the Nats to actually win games so far. Gotta give him that much.

  12. uyf1950 - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    I believe we now have the contract details. At least the money portion of it. It’s being reported. $21MM per for the first 5 years (2012 through 2016) and $21.5 per for 2017 & 2018. By my calculation that leaves $6MM as a signing bonus or something else may be deferred money or may be both.

  13. lbehrendt - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Craig, surely you know that baseball’s collective bargaining agreement (Article XXIII(G)) prohibits unreported understandings between club and player at the time of the player’s assignment to the club, particularly when accomplished to evade the luxury tax. So when you reported that this deal has been in the works for some time, surely that was a slip of the figurative pen. Right?

    • henryd3rd - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:56 PM


      You shot at humor and sarcasm totally missed the mark. Stick to what you do best. Bean counting and doing the crossword puzzle in the NY Times. In other words get a life!

      • lbehrendt - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:38 PM

        Not only am I not funny and don’t do sarcasm well, but I can’t do crossword puzzles. Now I face a life choice: do I learn how to do crossword puzzles, or do I get a life instead?

        Sniff. I’m so upset, I lost count. One bean, two beans, three beans .

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