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Tag:Adrian Gonzalez
Posted on: December 5, 2010 8:44 pm
 

Boston-SD finish Gonzalez deal -- for real

Yes, Adrian Gonzalez is headed to the Red Sox. The Boston Blockbuster is on.

After taking an unexpected detour Sunday afternoon when contract extension talks reached a stalemate at the 2 p.m. deadline, the Red Sox still finalized the deal about six hours later according to CBSSports.com sources.

Yes, the Padres are still receiving the same three prospects -- with a fourth player as a player to be named later -- in return: Pitcher Casey Kelly, power first baseman Anthony Rizzo and fleet center fielder Reymond Fuentes.

While multiple reports had the Red Sox talking with Gonzalez about a six-year extension after he earned $5.5 million -- as scheduled -- in 2011 and the first baseman wanting an eight-year deal, Boston now is content to allow the situation to ride into spring training.

Ostensibly, during the 48-hour weekend negotiating window allowed by major-league baseball, the Red Sox became satisfied that they will be able to strike a deal with Gonzalez.

By waiting to do so, Boston can benefit in two ways:

1. The Red Sox can wait until spring training and make sure that Gonzalez's surgically repaired right shoulder is sound. The surgery was not a major one, and the fact that Gonzalez underwent a battery of tests during his physical exam at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Sox are satisfied enough to still complete the trade speaks volumes.

2. By delaying a multi-year contract agreement, the Red Sox can escape paying luxury tax on what likely will wind up being be a seven-year deal deal worth somewhere between $22 and $24 million a year.

A formal announcement is expected on Monday.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 2:31 am
Edited on: December 4, 2010 2:46 am
 

Red Sox in serious talks for SD's Adrian Gonzalez

The on-again, off-again talks between the Red Sox and the Padres involving Adrian Gonzalez, an oldie-but-goodie first discussed at the July trade deadline in 2009, are back on in a big way.

Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com late Friday night that the two clubs are discussing a blockbuster that would send a package of prospects to the Padres in exchange for Gonzalez, the three-time All-Star who is entering the final year of his contract in 2011 before he becomes eligible for free agency.

The Red Sox, under general manager Theo Epstein, have taken multiple runs at acquiring Gonzalez going all the way back to '09. At this moment, they appear closer to landing the slugger than they ever have before. There were indications late Friday night that a deal possibly could even be reached before the clubs get too deep into next week's winter meetings that begin in Orlando on Monday.

Traveling parallel paths in looking for a big hitter, the Red Sox this week have spoken with free agents Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. With Kevin Youkilis reportedly working out at third base this winter, the Sox would have the flexibility, if they do not re-sign Beltre, to move Youkilis across the diamond and plug in Gonzalez at first base.

Of course, in negotiations, things are not always what they seem, and the Red Sox currently are juggling enough possibilities that a well-timed run at Gonzalez also could be designed to break the will of Beltre and cause him to lower his asking price and re-sign with them sooner rather than later. Theoretically, with Beltre in the fold, Youkilis would stay at first base and the Red Sox could turn away from the San Diego talks.

However, late Friday night, that's not the way Boston appeared to be moving. Conversations with the Padres were said to have gained momentum throughout the day on Friday.

While neither San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer nor Gonzalez could be reached for comment, a couple of things are in play here:

One, Gonzalez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after the season ended, has not given any indication that he's amenable to signing a long-term deal with San Diego for a discounted price.

And two, the Padres, surprise winners of 90 games in 2010, likely realize that their optimal time to move him is now, when they surely would receive a bigger package of players in return than they would in July, when Gonzalez might be a three-month rental for a contending team.

While trading Gonzalez would be a public relations disaster for a San Diego club whose attendance already was disappointing in 2010, the Padres have been taking on water this winter, anyway.

Already, they've lost three key pieces from a team that managed to stay in contention all the way to the last day of last season: Pitcher Jon Garland has signed with the division-rival Dodgers, infielder Miguel Tejada has signed with the division-rival Giants and catcher Yorvit Torrealba has fled to Texas.

As things stand now, the Padres have serious holes in their rotation and in their middle infield. And the 2011 payroll is not projected to rise much beyond the low $40 millions. In 2010, only the Pirates had a lower payroll than San Diego.

Consequently, despite their surprise season in 2010, the Padres appear to be veering more toward rebuilding with young pieces -- witness their acquisition of outfielder Cameron Maybin from Florida earlier this winter -- than toward contending again.

Much as it would be unpalatable to the local fans to see Gonzalez, a San Diego native, dealt, he currently appears on a dead-end course with the Padres, and trading him clearly is their best shot at quickly accumulating three or four players who would either be major-league ready, or help fertilize the upper-levels of a weak farm system.

Among the Red Sox's prospects who would be the most attractive to San Diego are pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Hoyer, who just completed his first season as Padres' GM, and his assistant Jason McLeod, each worked under Epstein in Boston through the end of the 2009 season. As scouting director for the Red Sox, McLeod knows their system exceedingly well. The Epstein-Hoyer relationship is another reason why many in the industry have predicted Gonzalez would wind up in Fenway Park since Hoyer replaced Kevin Towers in the GM's chair.

Though the Padres picked up Gonzalez's $5.5 million contract for 2011, there remain no indications that he will be a San Diego lifer. Gonzalez is looking for Ryan Howard-Mark Teixeira-Albert Pujols money, a six- or seven-year deal worth somewhere north of $20 million a year.

The Padres sent strong signals that they intended to trade Gonzalez last year until their unexpectedly good season caused them to keep that team together. Though Gonzalez is a local hero and a highly popular Hispanic player for a team that draws from Mexico, there were zero promotions for Gonzalez during the 2010 season. No cover of the media guide, no bobble-head nights, no posters, nothing. It was a strong signal that he was not in their long-term plans.

Gonzalez last year batted .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBI despite being bothered by a damaged right shoulder beginning in May. With two good shoulders in '09, Gonzalez crushed 40 home runs with 99 RBI.

With numbers like that in the cavernous Petco Park, you can't blame the Red Sox for dreaming about the damage the lefty swinging Gonzalez could do in Fenway Park -- especially with David Ortiz moving into the, ahem, twilight of his career.

Some 16 months after the Red Sox first started talking with the Padres about Gonzalez, they appear closer than ever to making that happen. And they still would have money left for either Werth or Crawford.

 

Posted on: October 3, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Gutsy Padres put on heck of a show

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the end, a $40 million payroll was good for 29th in the majors, 90 victories and one big heartbreak on the final Sunday of the season.

The Padres pushed the Giants to the brink of a one-game playoff back in San Diego on Monday, but couldn't push them over the edge. San Francisco's 3-0 win here Sunday earned the Giants the NL West title, and Atlanta's win over Philadelphia gave the Braves the NL wild-card berth.

The Padres head home for the winter after a summer of vastly exceeding expectations.

Even in losing, this was one special team.

"It shows that if you have a bunch of guys committed to the team concept, you can compete in this league," second baseman David Eckstein said, "We had a good mix of guys. That's the tough thing about it.

"Because no one is going to care because we didn't make it."

Sad truth is, Eckstein probably is right -- but he should be wrong.

What the Padres did should have been headline news. They were the game's best story throughout the season.

They were the perfect team for these roiling economic times. They stretched their budget. They made more with less. They were responsible and paid attention to small details.

"A lot of clubs out there, small-market clubs, I'd love for them to take a page out of what we did," Eckstein said. "It proves anything is possible."

The Padres held first place from June 18 through September 16.

They and the Yankees were the only clubs to not lose more than three consecutive games until the Padres were ambushed by a 10-game losing streak beginning on Aug. 26 that ultimately became a mortal wound.

"It's a team game made up of individual battles," manager Bud Black said. "This truly was a team in the sense that guys cared about each other. The unselfishness. Guys understood what I was doing and what the coaches were doing.

"It was fabulous how strong, as a group, the team concept was. It was awesome."

The whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. And as these Padres quietly prepared for their final charter flight home of 2010, though it was a somber clubhouse, there was pride in what they had accomplished.

"I'm never one to be disappointed at the end of the year," said slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who now, along with closer Heath Bell, probably will re-enter the trade rumors market this winter. "You give it your all. When you play your heart out every day, you have nothing to hang your head about.

"Whether we came up one game short or 10 games short, I gave it all I had.

Likes: The Giants are deserving champions. Totally revamped lineup, and together with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Co. will be tough in the playoffs. ... Every time I come to San Francisco, the beauty of AT & T Park hits me all over again. ... On to the playoffs. ... Michaelangelo's Café in North Beach. ... Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo, my old classmate, for notching his 100th win as Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over Grosse Ile 49-13 on the high school football fields Friday night. Coach Jack has the Falcons rolling again, I love it.

Dislikes: It's always a severe and harsh split when a baseball season ends. People you see practically every day of the summer, suddenly, you're done seeing some of them until next February, March or April. Reaching the end of a season is kind of like reaching the end of the school year. It's been a long grind and you're happy to be done, but you'll miss seeing a lot of friends. Looking forward to seeing some of those friends over these next several weeks in the playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Educated in a small town
"Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
"Used to daydream in that small town
"Another born romantic that's me
"But I've seen it all in a small town
"Had myself a ball in a small town
"Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
"Now she's small town just like me"

-- John Mellencamp, Small Town

Posted on: September 29, 2010 1:45 am
 

Hitless Padres threatening to go out with whimper

SAN DIEGO -- Adrian Gonzalez made a bold prediction on Sept. 15, after his squad took two of three in Colorado: If the Padres scored four or five runs a game the rest of the way, they would win the NL West.

Since then, the numbers have conspired badly against Gonzalez and his Padres.

They have mustered just four or more runs only five times in 12 games since that day.

In those five games, they're 4-1.

In the seven games in which they've scored three or fewer, the Padres are 1-6.

Emphasizing the struggle, San Diego has managed only a total of four runs over its past 27 innings.

Since Aug. 24 in spacious Petco Park, the Padres are 0-9 when they allow four or more runs at home.

San Diego's 5-2 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday night was devastating to the Padres not just because they now trail the Giants by two games in the NL West and Atlanta by 1 1/2 games in the wild-card chase. No, the loss also was devastating in the method.

The normally sure-footed Padres committed three errors. Mat Latos failed to field a ball in the fifth and, three batters later, Miguel Tejada, ranging into the hole to field Starlin Castro's grounder, threw the ball into the dugout when he had no play.

Gold Glover Adrian Gonzalez booted a ground ball in the seventh and failed to cover first base on a play in the ninth (second baseman David Eckstein threw to pitcher Edward Mujica for the out as Gonzalez stood frozen, watching).

"Baseball works in funny ways," said Latos, now 0-4 with a 10.13 ERA over his past four starts. "The only way I could honestly put it is, we could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys with 'San Francisco Giants'  across their jerseys. We didn't.

"We added two guys [Tejada and Ryan Ludwick, now hitting .221 with five homers in 54 games with the Padres]. We've been the same team all year. We haven't just gone and grabbed guys from other teams."

In the season's final week, the contenders making the least number of mistakes emerge to play another day. It's that simple.

And when you're dragging around an anchor of an offense the size of the Padres', your margin for error is minimal.

Likes: The Cincinnati Reds store staying open all night at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday after they clinched. Very cool. Good for the Reds. ... The Baseball Project and Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) with their new song Don't Call Them Twinkies. Great stuff, with a clear eye for the history of the Twins. Make sure to check it out.

Dislikes: Come on. The guy who owns the Segway company dies when ... he apparently accidentally rides his Segway over a cliff in England? How ironic is that?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You gotta grow, you gotta learn by your mistakes
"You gotta die a little everyday just to try to stay awake"

-- Gerry Rafferty, Get it Right Next Time

 

Posted on: September 15, 2010 9:00 pm
 

Keepin' the faith with the Padres

DENVER – "Believe", read the T-shirts the San Diego Padres are wearing around the clubhouse and underneath their jerseys these days. And this is how much faith All-Star Adrian Gonzalez has in the Padre pitching staff:

"If we score four or five runs a game the rest of the way," Gonzalez said after the Padres won two of three in Coors Field, "we're going to win the West."

Runs always have been at a premium for the Padres, but never so much so as over the past couple of weeks, when they fell into a 10-game losing streak and struggled to pull themselves out of it.

Until they scored six runs in Monday's opener here, they had gone 16 consecutive games scoring four or fewer runs.

But they continue to lead the majors in pitching (3.22 ERA). The Padres top the majors in bullpen ERA (2.78), and they're third in starters' ERA (3.64), just behind Oakland (3.52) and St. Louis (3.54).

"We're going to win this division with our pitching," Gonzalez said, emphasizing that the onus is on the hitters.

Taking two of three games in Colorado from a team that was riding a 10-game winning streak and owns the second-best home record in the majors (51-24), Gonzalez said, allowed the Padres to regain their breath.

"We're in good shape," he said. "I like the fact that we've got C.Y. [Chris Young] back, the pitching staff still doing what they're doing ... offensively, Luddy [Ryan Ludwick] is coming around, Miggy [Miguel Tejada] swung the bat well this series.

"We're going to score runs. We're going to be good."

Likes: Coors Field is hell on pitchers, but it's a pretty park. ... This NL West three-way with the Padres, Giants and Rockies is great stuff. ... The division might have tightened significantly over the past week, but you'd never know it from talking to Padres manager Bud Black. Calm and cool, he's living up to his old nickname, Mr. Freeze. ... Great run along the Cherry Creek on a hot day in Denver. It's been in the 80s all week. Beautiful. ... The AL Cy Young debate. You take CC Sabathia's workload and success? Or Felix Hernandez's singular dominance? It's going to be a good one. ... Southwest Airlines. One of the few airlines that treat you like an actual human being. ... Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

Dislikes: Legendary scout Al LaMacchia passes away at the age of 89. Among many, many others, he signed Cito Gaston and Dale Murphy.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The rain kept drivin' but the Caddy kept on burnin' rubber
"We kept on drivin' till we ran into some fog cover
"We couldn't see a thing somehow we just kept on goin'
"We kept on drivin' all night long and then into the mornin'
"Before it finally lifted when we looked to see where we was at
"We're starin' at a Colorado state policeman trooper's hat go"

-- Bob Seger, Get Out of Denver

Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:07 am
 

Padres sweep Dodgers, Giant showdown next

SAN DIEGO -- Following a victory over German troops in Egypt during World War II in 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

And as they were saying in the San Diego clubhouse after sweeping the Dodgers with a 4-0 whitewashing on Wednesday night to regain traction following that vicious 10-game losing streak. ...

"The baseball season is long and there are ebbs and flows," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our season, up until that point, was pretty steady. I think it's a tribute to our guys. We hit a bump in the road, and I thought our guys showed resolve. We pitched well, played sound defense and executed."

Their breath back, the first-place Padres now head into a colossal four-game, showdown series with San Francisco beginning on Thursday evening, a season hanging in the balance.

With the Giants losing in Arizona on Wednesday, the Padres pushed their NL West lead -- six games as recently as 12 days ago -- back up to two games.

The Padres have beaten San Francisco in nine of 11 games this season, but the Giants have undergone significant changes from what the Padres saw in April and May (Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Madison Bumgarner).

The exclamation mark for the four-game series comes at the end, when aces Mat Latos and Tim Lincecum oppose each other on Sunday.

Latos, signed by Padres scout Joe Bochy, brother of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tuesday set a major-league record by working his 15th consecutive start in which he worked at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed.

With the Giants on deck and a two-game lead in their grasp, it turns out that 10-game losing streak was not the end for the Padres. Given their sweep of the Dodgers, it probably was not even the beginning of the end.

But it clearly was the end of a beginning that saw them join the Yankees as the only teams in the game not to lose more than three in a row, the end of a beginning that was almost too smooth to believe.

Now, in whipping the Dodgers, the Padres looked like themselves again.

They won Wednesday's game behind six shutout innings from rookie Cory Luebke, 25, who was making just the second big-league start of his career. Just fill in the blanks by day, the pitching has been excellent. Black said Luebke will get the ball again for another start five days hence in Colorado.

The three-run sixth against Chad Billingsley was as good an indicator as anything that the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-th
eir-parts Padres were back: Lefty Will Venable dropped an opposite-field blooper down the left-field line for a single, speedster Everth Cabrera bunted for a hit and pinch-hitter David Eckstein beat out a bunt attempt when Billingsley threw late to third.

Bases loaded, speedy leadoff man Luis Durango dropped a two-run single into left. Then, slugger Adrian Gonzalez cracked a sacrifice fly.

"We're getting back to the way we play," Eckstein said.

"These are the things we've worked on because we knew we needed to do them," Black said. "When they go our way, it doesn't surprise us. We've worked on these things as far back as February."

Gonzalez, in a conversation before the game, said that the first several games of the losing streak was simply business as usual for the Padres -- they were playing sound ball but were simply losing. Toward the end of the streak, though, Gonzalez said he could see some of the players pressing. That eased immensely, he said, with the first two wins over the Dodgers.

So ... a new beginning for the Padres?

"We hope so," Eckstein said. "We're not going to answer that question until we clinch or don't clinch, because we'll hear about it the rest of our lives if we don't. We just have to focus on playing our game."

Likes: Trevor Hoffman earning career save No. 600. Congratulations to a man who has had a very difficult season but remains pure class. ... Former Cincinnati ace Gary Nolan visiting with the Reds in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. ... Intense scoreboard watching every night now. ... The portable iPod players. It's given yet another new life to my iTouch. Reds manager Dusty Baker has one that travels with him -- it's usually queued up in the manager's office -- and he jokes that it's his "roommate." ... The Arcade Fire's new disc, The Suburbs. ... Digging this season of Mad Men. ... Ah, back to school. A young lady was wearing this T-shirt in the St. Louis airport the other day: "We didn't come to college to find our husbands. We came to find our bridesmaids."

Dislikes: The Dodgers are playing like they've quit. Totally disinterested. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson being stung by a scorpion at his Arizona home this week. Among the only things more disgusting than scorpions are tarantulas. ... Human beings continue to get larger and larger with each generation. Airplane aisles continue to get smaller and smaller. The future of air travel? I don't even want to know. Let's just say that the larger people and smaller aisles are going to clash pretty badly here in a few years.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Everyone I know
"Everywhere I go
"People need some reason to believe"

-- Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

 

Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:09 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Padres' Hairston Jr. to go on DL

The first-place Padres have met every challenge tossed their way this summer, and now another big one is in front of them: Jerry Hairston Jr. is expected to be out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a strained right elbow, and he said it might be three or four weeks until he's back to full strength.

Hairston underwent an MRI exam in San Diego on Friday. He is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list sometime before Saturday afternoon's game against Philadelphia and replaced on the roster by Everth Cabrera, the young infielder who was optioned out when the Padres acquired Miguel Tejada last month.

"I was worried," said Hairston Jr., hitting .249 with a .305 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 50 RBI this season. "It could have been a lot worse."

Hairston Jr. might have become the Padres' most indispensible man this side of Adrian Gonzalez during sparkplug David Eckstein's month-long stint on the disabled list. He plugged second base nicely while Eckstein was recovering, just the latest evidence of a job well done in 2010.

His 101 starts this season have been far-flung: He's started 53 games this season at shortstop, 41 at second base, four in right field, two in left field and one at third base. He's also batted leadoff a team-high 47 times.

Manager Bud Black said the Padres would be "monitoring" Hairston Jr. and called the injury a "cumulative" one. Meaning, Hairston Jr. wasn't injured on one play.

"The last six weeks it's really started bothering me," Hairston Jr. said. "And it just got worse."

It didn't help his peace of mind that he was en route to Friday's MRI exam when he heard the devastating news that similar tests showed a torn ligament in the elbow of Washington ace Stephen Strasburg. Hairston, though, eluded that sort of terrible news.

He will not throw for two weeks and then, he said, "we'll see where I'm at."

The Padres are contemplating whether to place him on the disabled list.

"I can still hit," he said.

Even at that, the Padres do not want to take any chances. As such, they had Cabrera on a plane Friday night. Cabrera, 23, is a solid fielder who was struggling offensively when they sent him to Triple-A Portland to make room for Tejada. In 63 games with the Padres this season, Cabrera was hitting .205 with one homer, 22 RBI and eight steals.

Hairston Jr. would be eligible to return from the disabled list on Sept. 11, the third day of a four-game series against NL West rival San Francisco.

 

Posted on: July 12, 2010 11:31 pm
 

Adrian and Heath's Excellent All-Star Adventure 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adrian and Heath's Excellent Adventure 2010 sure was a lot more tame than the 2009 All-Star version.

Two years in a row now, slugger Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell have represented the Padres in the All-Star Game.

But last summer, when the Padres closed the first half in San Francisco and the game was in St. Louis, their journey turned into a fiasco.

They had a late flight out of San Francisco and were delayed on their lengthy layover in Las Vegas, which caused them to miss their connection to St. Louis. So they wound up flying into Indianapolis and renting a car.

Except, because of a convention, the rental cars were scarce and the only thing left was a van. So Gonzalez and his wife Betsy, Bell and batting practice pitcher Ray Krohn (Gonzalez was in the Home Run Derby last year) piled into the van and Gonzalez drove most of the 250 miles from Indianapolis to St. Louis. The quartet stopped for a meal at Steak 'n' Shake somewhere along the overnight journey and arrived around 10:30 Monday morning following an 18-hour trip.

"We sang, we talked ... ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber?" Bell said. "It was that."

This year?

After the Padres beat the Rockies in Colorado on Sunday, the team chartered home. And then both Bell and Gonzalez drove the 90 miles from San Diego to Anaheim with their families.

Simple.

"Hey, it wasn't that easy," Bell quipped. "We had a baby crying and three kids in the back going, 'Are we there yet?'"

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com