While it seemed as inevitable as the Yankees re-signing Derek Jeter, the Red Sox finally made the deal to land their coveted slugging first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres won a surprising 90 games in 2010 but rode out their plan to ship Gonzalez off before he became a free agent after the 2011 season. The Padres made the right move in dealing Gonzalez in the off-season to collect a greater haul of prospects and this most certainly puts the writing on the wall for the future of Heath Bell in San Diego. Although, the Padres might wait until the trade deadline approaches to move their closer because there should be more teams bidding on arms for a playoff push.
What This Means For Adrian Gonzalez
There is one and only one drawback for Gonzalez in this deal. He no longer gets to live in San Diego. The Red Sox are and always have been the ideal landing spot for the slugger. In his five years of playing half of his games in the cavernous Petco Park, he still managed to hit 161 home runs and average a .288/.374/.514 line. With Fenway's short porch in right field, Gonzalez should see a nice tick upwards in his slugging numbers. He also becomes a very rich man. The Sox will, presumably, extend him seven years for around $170 million.
What This Means For Boston
The Red Sox have coveted Gonzalez for two years after it became clear that the Padres had no shot at retaining him with free agency looming. Plugging Gonzalez in at first will move Kevin Youklis to third while urging Adrian Beltre not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out. The Sox also had to hand over a nice package of prospects from a deep if not great system. Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes are three of the top six or seven prospects in Boston's system plus San Diego will receive what's behind curtain number three in a player to be named later. The move certainly sparks a fun debate about which infield is better between the Sox and the Yanks. I figure Jeter and Marco Scuturo are about a wash.
What This Means For San Diego
The Padres managed to not get all delusional after last season's surprising push for the playoffs and kept their game plan on track. It must have been tempting to take another run with Gonzalez and move him at the deadline if they fell back to earth. But they made the smart move and dealt him when they could get the most bang for their lack of bucks. In Casey Kelly, they get Boston's top pitching prospect who was already pitching at Double A as a 20-year-old. Anthony Rizzo might be the heir apparent to Gonzalez at first base. As a 21-year-old in Double A, he hit 20 home runs and a .263/.334/.481 line. Reymond Fuentes is a toolsy outfielder and the cousin of Carlos Betran. At just 19-years-old, he stole 42 bases during his A ball season. The Padres will certainly deal Heath Bell at some point during the season to continue their youth movement.