10
Jul
09

Forget Halladay, Let’s Get A-Gon


AdrianGonzalezWith Toronto GM JP Ricciardi’s announcement that he would be fielding offers for Roy Halladay, the baseball world has been abuzz with rumors and talk about where he might go. One of the possible destinations is, of course, the Red Sox. While I would love that move, it is highly highly unlikely. For one thing, Halladay is 32, will most likely require an extension taking him another 3-5 years at Johan/CC money. Josh Beckett’s contract is also up after next season and will be in line for a salary similar to that AJ Burnett is earning as a minimum. The likelihood of the Red Sox investing somewhere in the neighborhood of $30+ million in just 2 pitchers is very small. Add in that Jonathan Papelbon is going to keep earning gigantic arbitration awards, probably somewhere in the $10 million range next year, and you’re looking at upwards of $40 million for just 3 players. That’s not fiscally responsible.

Halladay would make the Red Sox by far the runaway candidate to win the World Series this year, but at what future cost? At the same time, the Red Sox right now are still one of the likely representatives in the World Series as is.

I for one would prefer to see the Sox turn their minor league development machine into adding another bat to the roster. At this moment the team is not desperate for another big bopper in the lineup, but at the end of this season third baseman Mike Lowell’s contract is up and despite his being an incredibly valuable member of the team, is unlikely to be extended. That means there’s a hole in the infield. Thanks to Kevin Youkilis’ versatility, the team can look to add either a third baseman OR a first baseman and I have the perfect target; Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres.

Currently the Padres are 19 games back in the NL West, last year they finished the season 21 games back. There is very little hope in friar-land for the future, they’ve already tried to trade Jake Peavy in an effort to get some prospects back and lower payroll. Now Adrian is signed to an incredible reasonable and team friendly deal, so the incentive to trade him isn’t quite the same, but, the team is going nowhere, they have no chance of contending any time soon and are currently throwing out a team that most AAA teams could beat. By trading Gonzalez, the only player who could bring in a healthy haul, the Padres could do a lot to benefit their team.

The Red Sox could trade Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and a couple other lower level prospects which would dramatically improve the Padres farm system and their future. I’m not advocating ripping the Padres off, A-Gon deserves and will require a crew of strong prospects, but he’s worth it. Currently only 27 years old, he leads the non-Pujols hitters in HRs with 24 while playing in one of the most pitching friendly stadiums in the game, he won a Gold Glove last season and many more at due to come.

The Red Sox failed in acquiring Mark Teixeira, Gonzalez is basically the exact same player except he won’t cost $170 million (yet), but will cost a princely sum in prospects. However, imagine this lineup for 2011 for the Sox.

Ellsbury
Pedroia
Bay
Gonzalez
Youkilis
Ortiz
Drew
Varitek
Lowrie

Pretty formidable no? Of course, that’s assuming the Sox resign Bay…Consider that after 2011 Ortiz’ contract is up, but hopefully, Justin Morneau-clone prospect Lars Anderson will be ready to replace him and the team will be set with young hitters for YEARS to come. Pedroia, Youkilis, Gonzalez, Ellsbury and Lowrie are all under 30 and producing (besides Lowrie to date) and would set the Sox up for a long long run.

I love Doc Halladay but if the Sox want to make a move, it should be for Adrian.

As for why the Padres would do this deal, they aren’t going anywhere this season, or next, or the one after that as they are currently constituted. In order to try and contend in a wide-open West division, the Padres need to add some impact young players. Throw Buchholz out in Petco and his stuff is going to be dominant, Bowden won’t have to worry about any fly-balls flying out in that stadium either. Gonzalez is signed through this year with a club option for 2011, however, despite being originally from San Diego, why would he consider staying in a place where he has ZERO chance to win for any time in the future. So the likelihood of resigning him is slim, it makes sense to maximize his value while they can, in the same way the Rangers did with Teixeira. That one trade helped turn the Texas Rangers’ farm system from middling to the best in the game. The Padres could do the same. The longer the team waits to deal him, the less the haul will be in return because Gonzalez is more likely to test the waters of free agency.


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