Vincent Farnsworth 4:30 p.m., March 15
Padres Trade Gonzalez, Say ESPN, U-T
The Padres have traded star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox, according to various sports media. ESPN broke the story this morning (Dec. 4) but as of 10:26 a.m. is still quoting "sources" on the deal. The Union-Tribune is closer to saying the deal is a fait accompli, and columnist Tim Sullivan had said this morning that such a deal was well nigh inevitable. The Padres will get pitcher Casey Kelly, 21-year old first baseman Anthony Rizzo and 19-year-old outfielder Raymond Fuentes.
Gonzalez's contract goes through next year, but he was expected to be traded because the team can't possibly pay the $22 million to $25 million a season that some experts thinks he can command. He led the majors with a .407 average with runners in scoring position and had a hand in 23.6% of Padres runs, according to the U-T. In five seasons, he hit 161 home runs.
Since Gonzalez was the team's major draw, the deal will clearly affect the Padres's bottom line. Gonzalez has lived on both sides of the border and graduated from Eastlake High in Chula Vista, according to the U-T. "Gonzalez is the Padres's most popular player with great crossover appeal to the team's Mexican-American market," says ESPN. The Padres had a payroll of less than $38 million last year, second-lowest in the majors, according to the U-T. The team has already lost pitcher Jon Garland, shortstop Miguel Tejada and catcher Yorvit Torrealba, won't resign outfielders Scott Hairston and Tony Gwynn Jr. and refused to pick up the $8.5 million option on pitcher Chris Young. One Colorado Rockies website is exulting that the Padres have already given up on 2011, although the team surprised everybody by staying in this year's race until the final day.