December 04, 2010
Multiple sources are reporting on Saturday morning that the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox have agreed on a trade that will finally send first baseman Adrian Gonzalez(notes) to Fenway Park for a package of minor leaguers. Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports the crop will include three of Boston's top six prospects — pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes.
The ramifications of this deal are pretty clear. The Red Sox will get the Mark Teixeira(notes)-type MVP contender that they have long coveted for their lineup. They'll sacrifice a few top prospects, but it's a fair price in their eyes (and mine, too) to acquire a franchise cornerstone and play keeping-up-with-the-Joneses against the New York Yankees. It's scary to think how A-Gone will perform now that he'll be playing half of his games with that short right field at Fenway Park instead of in the spacious pastures of Petco Park. (Gonzalez hit 11 home runs in San Diego in 2010, compared to 20 on the road.)
Meanwhile, the swap is a loud indication that the Padres won't get nostalgic about their unexpected success in 2010 and will stick to their plan of stockpiling and cultivating young and cheap talent. In addition to this Gonzalez trade, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Padres will "absolutely" trade closer Heath Bell(notes) at some point this offseason.
This undoubtedly won't go over well with Padres fans, but you can't blame the team's front office here. San Diego didn't score many runs or attract many fans with the presence of Gonzalez, a friendly hometown guy playing for the team he grew up supporting. Why lock him into a deal expected to approach Teixeira's $180 million that would hamstring the franchise while adding other players for the next eight-nine years?
It's the business of baseball and the Padres are already proving themselves adept at realizing the differences between big and small markets. They didn't get sentimental with Jake Peavy(notes) in 2009 and sent him to the Chicago White Sox for a package of prospects. Just over one year later, Peavy is a gigantic injury question mark that will cost the White Sox $33 million over the next two years while the Padres still have one of the best young pitching rotations in the league. Time will tell if the Padres GM Jed Hoyer picked the right prospects from the Red Sox (the team he used to work for), but he has made the right move in remaining flexible while building his team of the future.