Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A-Gon Makes Quite the Promise

ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes reports that there were some interesting outcomes from the 24-hour negotiating window between Boston and newly acquired All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. 

During the exclusive 24-hour negotiating window, the Red Sox and Gonzalez built a basic framework for a long term extension.  While Gonzalez passed his physical, the Red Sox still had concerns regarding Gonzalez's surgically repaired shoulder.  Due the labrum surgery he had only seven weeks prior, Gonzalez not able to swing a bat before March 1st at the earliest.  The Red Sox, having just traded four prospects to the Padres in exchange for A-Gon, wanted to make sure he was still the same player post-surgery as he was pre-surgery.  Rather than take an unnecessary financial risk, the front office decided it was best to hold off on finalizing a contract until he could prove he was fully healthy.

Additionally, the Red Sox wanted protection against the potential market place changes that could occur over the next couple of months should Albert Pujols agree to a new contract with Cardinals.  If Pujols managed to pull down $30M per season, the last thing the Red Sox wanted was for Gonzalez to inform the club that the price for his services had just gone up.  That would be a huge blow to the Red Sox considering they would've essentially given up four promising young players for what would amount to be a one year rental.  Gonzalez, being the stand up guy he is, had a solution:
“That was one of their comments, what if he gets this humongous deal and you want to be closer to him?” Gonzalez said. “I said, ‘Trust me. What the market is today might change by then, but we’re going to negotiate based on what the market is today.”’
This is a refreshing move by Gonzalez.  How many other players can you invision making similar concessions?  My guess is not many.  This is a unique situation.

So what does this gesture say on the part of Gonzalez?  On one hand, it shows his commitment and desire to play for the Red Sox.  On the other, I can't help but wonder if he's being a bit foolish.  There is plenty of money to be made on the free agent market in 2011-2012, especially if Pujols were to sign a monster deal prior the start of the offseason. 

Either way, I'm glad he's on the Red Sox.  He seems to get it.  While he's still focused on making sure he gets paid, he wants to do it in a manner that benefits both parties.  That's a rarity in today's sporting environment.

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