A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adrian Gonzalez

For the past few years, we have been inundated with discussion on the trade possibility of Adrian Gonzalez who seemed to have a ton of upside since he was allegedly playing in a park as big as the one that Willie Mays yanked Vic Wertz's flyball out of the sky in, but let's be honest 396 to center is not 483 feet, but then again, Fenway is a more intimate affair, so that's a plus for his statistics now that the trade is in the books, the hope is in the fans, and the man is in full PR mode.
So the great white hope pulled a .298, 31, 101 line last year knowing that what he did was going to help both the Padres win the division (of course, they imploded in the last few weeks, which was still a feat considering that other than Gonzalez and pitching, they really didn't have much last year) and help himself win a contract with another team.
So let's be honest with that line... there are 2 years in his career with more home runs (he did hit 40 once) and he did bat 300 once (304), but we're looking at good value (under $5million) for what seems to be about $15million of production in baseball money (which is less real than the leprechauns dancing under rainbows, Sasquatch sightings, and Loch Ness Monster pictures).
His whiffs are down a little bit, but he's not getting 600 at bats (almost, but not quite) either like he was in those 140 K years.
In his year in the playoffs, he was 5 for 14, so that bears well, but can he handle the Boston media? San Diego is a friendly town that isn't quite so media "intense" as Boston. How will he react to the big games against the Yankees? Can he meet expectations?
Gonzalez now stands on first base and moves Youkilis to third, which moves Mike Lowell to improving his golf game. Back in the day, Mike Lowell was a hero (as recently as the 2007 World Series), but then he got old, and the Red Sox wanted to jettison him to anyone who would have his memories as modern hopes, but the physicals that he took to reveal the damage of a career in baseball kept him and his salary in Boston. He hobbled through, a warrior to the end in spite of Theo Epstein's business approach to baseball in Boston (the same thing that sent famed Idiot Kevin Millar packing instead of making him a bench coach). The same approach that allows Jason Varitek's memories to stay at a discount for another year instead of making him a bench coach. The same approach that broke Dave Roberts' heart when it brought it to Boston just long enough to steal the base that made him as heroic as Paul Revere only to spit on it by sending him away the next year. If there's not enough hate for Theo Epstein here, give me some time. I'll get to all of the reasons why he and Francona need to go - in spite of what they did for 2004 and 2007. There's a year; it will all come out in the wash.
Baseball in Boston (and St. Louis, for that matter) is a beautiful thing; however, I don't have to like the whole team, and I especially don't have to like the team's management.

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