I am a little unsure about how I feel about the Adrian Gonzalez trade with San Diego. Obviously, It will be great to have him in the lineup in 2011. That being said, Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later are a very high price to pay.
First, The Sox have yet to sign Gonzalez to a long term deal. We had a roller coaster Sunday, wondering if the deal had gone through or not. The Padres get the better of the deal, it seems to me, if Boston can’t sign Gonzalez beyond this year. Trades are a gamble for both sides, no question. This one is risky for the sake of the contract and Gonzalez’ surgically repaired right shoulder. He passed his physical, yes, but it really seems like Theo went out on a limb to make this trade. Believe me, I want it to work out, but I’m not even close to being ready to sip any Kool-Aid on this one. It was one of baseballs’ worst kept secrets how much Epstein coveted Gonzalez and the San Diego front office knew it.
Second, with Jed Hoyer as General Manager of the Padres and Jason McLeod and Josh Byrnes working in the front office, there was no way the Red Sox could slip a “suspect” in with the prospects. That group all worked in Boston for Theo and McLeod was responsible for drafting the trio. You have to believe that if the Padres wanted those young men specifically, they are all fast track guys with big upsides.
I suppose that if the Sox win the World Series in 2011, it will be worth it. How many more Julio Lugo type deals will Boston live with though, and still allow Theo to keep his job. We saw fan interest dwindle in 2010 with all the injuries and mediocre play. Epstein has a fairly good track record. Not impeccable, but good. Two World titles buy a lot of good will, but the sellout streak will come to a screeching halt this year (although some might say it did last season) if Boston doesn’t make a run at the A.L. East crown.
I’m a little bummed that we won’t ever get to see that trio play for Pawtucket. I first met Casey Kelly when I was the voice of the Syracuse Chiefs and his dad, Pat Kelly was the manager. Young Casey, 8 or 9 at the time hung around the ballpark. He was a nice boy and he has grown into an outstanding man. I wish him well. I don’t know Anthony Rizzo, but I have heard great things about him. He, like Jon Lester, has battled cancer. How can you not root for him? Fuentes is very often compared to his cousin Carlos Beltran and is still just 19 years old.
The stove is finally heating up. The Red Sox have made a splash. Ironically, it was the great work that McLeod did as the scouting director for Boston that enabled the Sox to make the deal, and thus help his new club as well. You never know how a trade will work. I have a feeling the jury will be out for a while on this one.