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We continue our week-long series of previews with new first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Red Sox fans have been hearing about Adrian Gonzalez for the past few years. Not only is his inside-out lefthanded stroke made for Fenway but once former Epstein consigliere Jed Hoyer was hired as GM of the San Diego Padres many believed it became a fait accompli.
The Sox got Gonzo for assorted sundry prospects, two of which (first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Casey Kelly) had no room on the Sox roster for the foreseeable future. The only thing Gonzo truly costs the team is the pending seven-year, $154 million contract extension. Due to the glorification of the massive ego of Larry Lucchino the Sox missed out on a 28 year old, heavy hitting, gold glove first baseman in Mark Teixeira. This time they got their man.
Gonzo is coming off surgery, which fits him in with the Red Sox infield theme. He is expected to be fully recovered by spring training but shoulder injuries are always concerning. Just look at the protection Theo built into the JD Drewcontract to ally fears about his then-just-operated on shoulder. Even with a balky shoulder, he was still able to post .298/.393/.511.
Though he plays across the diamond from the Sox’ departed Adrian, he basically replaces Beltre’s production (.919 OPS). I’m no scientician, but taking a guy who can hit 40 homers playing half his games in Petco Park in an otherwise anemic lineup and putting him in pinball machine of a park with superb hitters surrounding him, we could be looking at an OPS around 1.000.
There seems to be some dichotomy of thought regarding Gonzo’s glove. The term “ham handed” hasn’t been tossed around but some feel his fielding is merely adequate. Others put him in the Teixeira class. Being both under the microscope and the spotlight of the 168 beat writers that will follow the Sox this season we will soon have a definitive answer.
Side note: While playing with my nephew I was oddly intrigued by one of his toys. Anybody else think Gonzo looks like a Lego Pirate?