Big League Stew - MLB

Last season, it was Roy Halladay(notes). The year before, it was CC Sabathia(notes).

And if you're looking to tab an early favorite for the most prized trade possibility at the 2010 trade deadline this summer? Well, you needn't look any further than Adrian Gonzalez(notes).

Though the Red Sox have long been drooling over the prospect of answering the Yankees' Mark Teixeira(notes) acquisition with the San Diego first baseman with the big bat and golden glove, the chances of the Padres parting with their hometown boy became a little more certain on Tuesday.

That's when John Boggs, Gonzalez's agent, and Padres CEO Jeff Moorad both made comments to Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune that made it seem like the Padres won't dole out Teixeira-type money when Gonzalez becomes a free agent in 2012. 

From the U-T:

"I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what's best for the long-term interest of the organization," Moorad said. "As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we're mindful of players' individual popularity, we won't put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.

"I'm confident that (General Manager) Jed (Hoyer) and John Boggs will have a discussion at some point about Adrian and his future. While I'd be thrilled to have him part of the organization for the long term, the early signals indicate his cost will be greater than our ability to pay."

The Padres will pay Gonzalez a bargain-basement $4.75 million for 2010 and have another reasonable club option for $5.5 million in 2011. Should the Padres' young pitching pan out, he could be an affordable key piece on a NL West-winning team.

Baseball and the Padres would be better off from a fan interest standpoint in keeping Gonzalez as their franchise cornerstone. As Sullivan points out, the parallels between A-Gone and Joe Mauer(notes), another hometown hero, are quite visible.

But if Moorad is talking about having new GM Jed Hoyer maximize his money, it'd be silly to hold onto Gonzalez until the 2011 trade deadline. Hoyer is a former Red Sox front office member and with David Ortiz(notes) nearing the end of his run at Fenway, Hoyer's former pals are going to be hungry for offense. He's more likely to get a bigger haul of prospects he's familiar with for two AL East pennant chases that include Gonzalez instead of just one.

So are you ready to hear all Adrian, all the time? Sure looks like we're headed that way.

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