As I'm sure you've all heard by now, Adrian Gonzalez is headed to the Red Sox. The slugging first baseman will cost the Sox three of their most highly touted prospects, Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Rey Fuentes, but you have to give up value to get value in return.
Also, it's possible that one or all of the minor leaguers going to San Diego will never reach their potential, and the Red Sox are getting about as close as you can to a sure thing in baseball. Gonzalez was in Boston today getting a physical (he had surgery in October after playing through some pain in the later parts of the 2010 season), and the deal will be official as soon as the Red Sox and agent John Boggs can work on a contract extension.
Adrian Gonzalez is a premier player entering into the prime of his career. The former Padre is twenty-eight years old, and in his seven MLB seasons (2 partial, 5 total), his numbers look like this: .284 BA, .368 OBP, 168 home runs, .511 SLG, and 525 RBI.
Bill James projects 2011 to be a typically great year for Gonzalez: 161 games played, .285 BA, .378 OBP, .512 SLG, 33 home runs, and 102 RBIs. It's also important to keep in mind that James calculated these predictions under the assumption that Gonzalez would be playing 81 games in the cavernous Petco Park, and that his numbers will most likely improve in the friendly confines of Fenway.
Current members of the Red Sox roster are excited to have Gonzalez join them. Daniel Bard, after being reassured that the deal did not include him, was enthusiastic, and Dustin Pedroia had nothing but praise for the All-Star: "I'm excited to play alongside him. It's going to be fun. When you hear his name for three years, something might happen. It's awesome to happen now. We picked up a player who's one of the best hitters in the game, so everyone's excited. We've got an All-Star. He's outstanding. We're excited and I think everyone's pumped to get to spring training and start everything."
Tim Wakefield, the grizzled veteran, acknowleged the long-term nature of the deal, noting that after a few years of discussion between the Padres and Sox, the trade has "finally some to fruition. It's a great addition to our club. Not only are we getting a quality player but we're also getting a quality guy." I don't know about you, but I trust Wake's opinion when it comes to class acts.
Obviously, this means that the Red Sox will not be bringing back the other Adrian, Mr. Beltre, despite his amazing 2010 performance for Boston at the hot corner. However, this does mean that the Red Sox will be awarded compensation picks for Beltre, Victor Martinez, and Felipe Lopez, meaning that they'll have five total picks in the first round and the sandwich round between the first and second rounds. This is nothing to sneeze at, especially since Theo has been very successful with drafting, and the 2011 draft class is projected to be very deep.
All in all, this is a fantastic move. I couldn't be happier, and I was itching all day to blog about it, and to get your reactions. Do you think this makes up for letting Victor Martinez walk? What kind of extension do you think Gonzalez will see? Do you expect the Sox to go after Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford as well?
[All quotes from this post are from Boston.com's Extra Bases blog; credit to Peter Abraham and the Globe staff]