Results tagged ‘ Padres ’
An impactful move by the Red Sox is one that makes the Yankees take notice. Yes, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is fully aware of the type of damage Gonzalez might do against his team for the next several years.
“It makes them a great team,” Cashman said. “He’s a heck of a hitter. That’s a huge addition for Boston. We know what our areas of weaknesses are that we need to tackle, and that’s what we need to continue to focus on. But they just obviously improved themselves in a significant way. He’s one of the premier players at that position in the game.”
Gonzalez showed good sensibility in his greeting with the Boston press, immediately talking about his goal of helping the Red Sox topple the Yankees.
“It was very emotional and very up and down,” said Gonzalez. “But I’m very excited that everything was able to be worked out and I’m very excited to be here in Boston. And I’m ready to beat the Yanks.”
He’s also like to help the Red Sox raise some more of those banners — like the ones from 2004 and 2007.
“I’ve had five incredible years in San Diego. My dream as a kid was to play in the Major Leagues and be a Padre and my second dream was to be a Red Sox. So I’m very excited, God has been very, very good to me and I’m just very excited to start the season and look forward to a lot of world championships,” Gonzalez said.
“It was one of the things where you grow up and you always root for a National League team and an American League team and the Red Sox have always been the American League team that I rooted for and I think with Ted Williams and all those things and him being from San Diego and seeing what he did here, everyone knows he’s one of the greatest of all time, there’s always been a lot of connections between me and my heart and the Red Sox.”
Watching Gonzalez hit at Fenway figures to become a must-watch experience, much like Manny Ramirez during his prime years.
“He’s one of the very best hitters in the game, a left-handed hitter with a
tremendous ability to control the strike zone, hit, hit for power, has power to all fields. His natural stroke is probably to the opposite field which is a great fit for our ballpark,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “He hits the ball the other way with ease, so we
think he’s going to wear the wall out. Just going from PETCO to Fenway Park should do wonders for his overall production, not that it needs any help. He likes the ball away from him a little bit. He’s a thinking man’s hitter who controls the at-bats and knows what he wants to do up there and goes up to the plate with a plan every time.
“Defensively, he’s a plus fielder with great hands, good feet around the bag, and he can really throw. He’s a playmaker on defense and has outstanding makeup. He’s a high-character person who leads by example and wants to win. That and he’s working on his speed, he said, this winter, so he can get a lot of doubles to left.”
By the way, Gonzalez did not have a number on his jersey during his unveiling, but Mike Cameron will give him 23 once some friendly high-stakes negotiations are complete.
“We’re in discussion,” laughed Cameron. “You know, I’m going to get something nice for Christmas.”
As for Red Sox manager Terry Francona, his early Christmas present is getting to pencil Gonzalez into his lineup every day.
“This is one of the best hitters in baseball,” Francona said in an interview with WEEI radio in Boston. “This is a big move for us. We’re getting a middle of the order bat, a guy that’s won a couple of Gold Gloves. He’s still young. This is exciting. We gave up some good players to get him, but that’s the only way you can get a guy of his caliber.”
Francona could sense how much Epstein wanted to make the deal happen.
“This was an important one,” Francona said. “I could tell that Theo was really digging his heels in on this one. And I’m glad he did because when he feels that strongly it’s got a chance to really be good for us.”
As the Red Sox unveiled their new slugger today in perhaps the franchise’s most impactful acquisition since Curt Schilling seven winters ago, Theo Epstein stated that, “It seems like Adrian was meant to be a Red Sox, and we’re glad to make it happen.”
It was destined for a couple of reasons. The Red Sox have been coveting a power bat who is in the prime years of his career for at least two years, dating back to when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. Gonzalez was the most logical person to fill that void, considering his age, his skills and the fact the Padres couldn’t keep him long term. The deal became even more inevitable a year ago, when Jed Hoyer become the Padres’ GM and Jason McLeod left the Red Sox to become his assistant.
McLeod was the leader in Boston’s draft room when they selected the three players that the Sox wound up sending to San Diego.
As Epstein said, “It was a case of all known commodities.”
Hoyer was equally candid about how much the familiarity helped to facilitate the trade.
“The knowledge was a big thing. Boston was clearly the most aggressive team in pursuing Adrian,” Hoyer said. “We really liked this package of players. From a talent standpoint, this was clearly the best package that we had. but the knowledge of the prospects also had a lot to do with it. Jason McLeod was the scouting director when all three of these guys were drafted. I know all three of these players. Perhaps the biggest anxiety you have with any trade is the unknown. You don’t know the players, you don’t know the personality. You don’t know the toughness. All of that is taken out of the equation in this trade for us.
“We know these guys. we know they have a great makeup. That’s a huge variable we don’t have to worry about. It lets you sleep a lot better at night knowing that ultimately the talent will take them as far as they’re going to go, but we know their mental toughness. Their makeup is going to be top notch. That’s a big problem when you make trades. You don’t usually have that knowledge. “
Hoyer also has great knowledge of Gonzalez, and he has good news for Red Sox fans.”I think he’s going to be unbelievable in Fenway Park. I think he’s going to be a monster at Fenway Park.”
Gonzalez also got things off on the right foot with Sox fans when he stated, “I’m ready to beat the Yanks.”
Keep in mind how heavily the rivaly has swung in favor of the Yankees since they signed Teixeira. In 2009, the Yankees won the World Series and the Red Sox lost in the Division Series. Last year, the Yankees advanced to Game 6 of the ALCS. The Red Sox didn’t make the postseason.
Gonzalez could go a long way toward leveling the playing field.
Epstein will arrive here in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. later today, so the Boston media will gather with him at some point this evening. More updates from him then on the blog and on redsox.com..
The quest started two winters ago, really. That was when Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein knew that the time was near when his team would need a middle-of-the-order bat to carry it through the next several years, much like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did from 2003-07.
Sure, Ortiz is still around, and still productive. But he’s no longer the guy who can carry a team all season. So Epstein put up a strong fight for Mark Teixeira after the ’08 season, but the first baseman went to New York. It was then that Epstein immediately started eying Gonzalez. He first tried to trade for him in 2009, at the July trade deadline. At the time, two assistants named Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were trying to help him make that swap. It didn’t go through.
So this time, Epstein dealt with Hoyer, the Padres GM, and McLeod, San Diego’s assistant GM, to get the big lefty bat. He trades three very legitimate prospects in Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes, all of whom were selected when McLeod was running Boston’s draft board.
Epstein, meanwhile, gets a 28-year-old lefty bat who should be nothing short of a force in 2011. There’s no contract worked out just yet. But the same could be said in November, 1997, when Dan Duquette traded Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr. for Pedro Martinez. By the time the 1998 season started, Martinez was signed for the next six years, and ultimately for a seventh year thanks to a club option. The same should happen for Gonzalez. The Red Sox wouldn’t make this trade if they weren’t fully confident they were keeping him for the long haul.
Suddenly, the Sox have a certifiable buzz about them again in a trade that might be as big as the one that brought Curt Schilling to Fenway in November, 2003.
As presently constituted, the Red Sox Opening Day lineup would look something like this:
But Epstein is still likely to pursue another bat in the outfield. Stay tuned. But he has made one huge move that will have fans eagerly anticipating 2011.