Monday, December 06, 2010
SOX ACQUIRE ADRIAN GONZALEZ
The Sox traded three prospects and a player to be named to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez. The highly touted, highly sought after first baseman is the biggest Red Sox acquisition since Daisuke Matsuzaka. And similar to that circus, it's been just a bit over-glorified.
Gonzalez is a great player. And after losing Victor Martinez, and likely Adrian Beltre, this move makes perfect sense. With the returns of Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox should have a much more potent offense in 2011.
Gonzalez will also benefit from playing 81 games in Fenway, and 0 in PetCo Park. His numbers are markedly better away from his former home field. Despite having that handicap, he hit .298 last year, with a .393 OBP, and 31 homers. He's surpassed 30 HRs each of the last 4 seasons, and is only 28. He's entering the prime of his career.
At the moment, the Sox lineup could look like this:
1. CF Ellsbury
2. 2B Pedroia
3. 1B Gonzalez
4. 3B Youkilis
5. DH Ortiz
6. RF Drew
7. SS Scutaro
8. LF ???????
9. C Varitek
Pretty good, eh? However, I still can't help thinking how much better it would look with Victor Martinez in that 5 spot. And of course, Carl Crawford occupying an OF position would improve things dramatically. It's still beefy in the middle.
But scoring runs wasn't what undid the 2010 Red Sox. It was, ironically, preventing them. The Sox allowed the 8th most runs in baseball. They were 22nd in team ERA, 23rd in bullpen ERA, 23rd in Save Percentage, and blew the 4th most Saves in all of baseball.
In other words, this team needs pitching in order to have any prayer at once again reaching the World Series. So while this trade is a big step in the right direction, it comes after the Sox took a step back and allowed Victor Martinez to leave. And there's still quite a staircase for the Sox to climb with their pitching situation.
So I'm glad. But hardly thrilled. Like everyone else seems to be.