12/06/10 12:45 AM EST
Red Sox, Padres complete Gonzalez deal
Contract extension talks on hold after five-player trade
By Corey Brock and Ian Browne / MLB.com
Multiple sources told MLB.com on Sunday that the Red Sox deal for the three-time All-Star is essentially done, pending some minor details. The Red Sox have scheduled a news conference Monday morning at Fenway Park, where they are expected to formally announce the deal.
The trade remains the same as first reported Saturday. The Red Sox get Gonzalez for a package of three well-regarded Minor League prospects -- right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes -- and a player to be named.
Earlier Sunday, the deal hit a snag when Gonzalez's agent, John Boggs, and the Red Sox couldn't reach an agreement on a contract extension beyond 2011 and thus missed the Sunday afternoon deadline instituted by Major League Baseball to complete the deal.
According to multiple reports, the Red Sox offered Gonzalez a six-year contract, but he was looking for eight years. The two sides have, according to reports, tabled discussion on a contract extension for now.
Ultimately though, the Red Sox agreed to the trade, mainly because they were confident from their discussions with Gonzalez and Boggs that an extension will be reached before the first baseman becomes a free agent. Gonzalez will earn $6.2 million in 2011.
Gonzalez gives the Red Sox the relatively young (28 years old) middle-of-the-order power bat they've been seeking ever since Mark Teixeira chose the Yankees over Boston when he was a free agent two years go.
One thing that likely helped the deal gain as much steam as it did was that Padres GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod both worked in Boston's front office for many years. In fact, both men oversaw the drafting of the three main prospects they acquired. McLeod was the leader of the Red Sox's Draft board when Kelly (2008), Rizzo (2007) and Fuentes (2009) were selected.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein first tried to get Gonzalez from the Padres at the Trade Deadline in July 2009 -- at which time Hoyer and McLeod were still in the organization -- but to no avail.
In exchange for Gonzalez's elite run-producing capabilities, Boston gave up three of its best prospects. Kelly, a first-round pick who could have played quarterback for the University of Tennessee, was viewed by most as the top pitching prospect in the organization before the Sox traded him. Rizzo, a first baseman, collected 25 homers and 100 RBIs in 2010, playing most of his season at Double-A Portland. Fuentes, Boston's first-rounder in 2009 and the cousin of Carlos Beltran, stole 42 bases at Class A in '10.
While those players could make a significant impact down the road, the Red Sox expect Gonzalez will be an instant force in Boston. In 2010, Gonzalez hit .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs, to go along with a .904 OPS. In 858 Major League games, Gonzalez is a .284 hitter with 168 homers and 525 RBIs. The lefty-swinging Gonzalez has a smooth opposite-field stroke, which makes him a perfect fit for Fenway.
He underwent right shoulder surgery after the season, but the Red Sox put him through a physical on Saturday in Boston, and came away confident he will be fully healthy for the 2011 season.
The Red Sox are now expected to move Kevin Youkilis, their starting first baseman the last five years, across the diamond to third. Youkilis came through the Minor Leagues as a third baseman and has started at that position 168 games in his time with the Red Sox.
Boston is now all but certain to give up any pursuit of Adrian Beltre, the free-agent third baseman who was an All-Star in 2010 -- his lone season with the Red Sox.
Gonzalez figures to slide right into the No. 3 spot in Boston's batting order, hitting behind Dustin Pedroia and in front of Kevin Youkilis. David Ortiz is another force in the Red Sox's lineup.
Since Teixeira went to New York, the Yankees won the World Series and got to the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox lost in the Division Series in 2009 and didn't make the postseason this year. With Gonzalez now in tow, they hope to have a better chance of upending their rivals in the American League East.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.