Alex Gonzalez is set free

The Red Sox chose to decline Alex Gonzalez's $6 million option for 2010 today, putting the shortstop on the free agent market. Quick recap: Gonzalez came to Boston post-Edgar Renteria and served ably, with sensational defense and a penchant for launching the occasional bomb but not much else. He left for a big-money contract in Cincinnati following the season, Julio Lugo taking his place. That contract was marred by injuries, and he was shipped back to Boston in August at which time he exploded, again providing great defense while being above-average on offense. Part of me wonders if the team even would have made the playoffs without him. Just because he's set free now doesn't mean he can't return to Boston. However, Gonzo is not a $6 million player, so the decision was easy. Especially with the news that John Henry's hedge fund business is suffering -- no matter what the front office may say, it will absolutely impact the finances Boston has to work with. If Gonzalez is willing to sign a two-year deal for $6 million, he'll be back in Boston. The risk here is obviously opening the bidding up to 29 other teams, but at this point, I think Boston is willing to pay a shade above market value for him -- just not way above. Delaying a decision on Gonzalez also impacts Boston's ability to continue shopping for a better or more long-term shortstop. The team was in the hunt for J.J. Hardy but lost out to the Twins earlier this week.

The Red Sox chose to decline Alex Gonzalez’s $6 million option for 2010 today, putting the shortstop on the free agent market.

Quick recap: Gonzalez came to Boston post-Edgar Renteria and served ably, with sensational defense and a penchant for launching the occasional bomb but not much else. He left for a big-money contract in Cincinnati following the season, Julio Lugo taking his place.

That contract was marred by injuries, and he was shipped back to Boston in August at which time he exploded, again providing great defense while being above-average on offense. Part of me wonders if the team even would have made the playoffs without him.

Just because he’s set free now doesn’t mean he can’t return to Boston. However, Gonzo is not a $6 million player, so the decision was easy. Especially with the news that John Henry’s hedge fund business is suffering — no matter what the front office may say, it will absolutely impact the finances Boston has to work with.

If Gonzalez is willing to sign a two-year deal for $6 million, he’ll be back in Boston. The risk here is obviously opening the bidding up to 29 other teams, but at this point, I think Boston is willing to pay a shade above market value for him — just not way above.

Delaying a decision on Gonzalez also impacts Boston’s ability to continue shopping for a better or more long-term shortstop. The team was in the hunt for J.J. Hardy but lost out to the Twins earlier this week.

Categories: Alex Gonzalez Quick Post

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

13 Responses to “Alex Gonzalez is set free” Subscribe

  1. M.A.G. November 8, 2009 at 5:38 PM #

    I agree with Gerry. For me, the absolute priority is Holliday and Adrian Gonzalez.

    And I think Boston is the best fit for both of them. We are one of the few teams who can offer Holliday a big contract, but we also can offer the perfect park for him. Hitting in Fenway, and protected for our lineup, is the best possible scenario for him, IMHO.

    And about Gonzalez, I think Cafardo has make a good job explaining why he is perfect for Boston, and why Boston is perfect for A-Gon, in his column today.

    Please, Theo, be aggressive.

    • Sean O November 8, 2009 at 11:57 PM #

      Holliday. Can't. Hit. He is Nolan Reimold in the AL. There isn't a single reason on the planet that we should sign Matt Holliday.

      • JoeSox November 9, 2009 at 1:42 AM #

        I guess it's the average to above-average defense in Left, and the fact that he strikes out less than Bay, and in his time with the A's, in a shitty stadium alongside shitty teammates his average was higher and his OBP was only about 8 points lower than Bay who was hitting in Fenway with our line-up. Yes, his power dipped a lot, and that's worrisome, but I think it can bounce back a good bit if he came here.

    • Dale Sams November 9, 2009 at 12:30 AM #

      I read two pages of Carfados fluff for what?….to hear how Boston could use him (duh) how great he'd be (duh) how Gonzalez would like Boston…fine…and not bit about how exactly The Sox are supposed to get him. Sox don't have the chips. The Yanks could shit a better offer right now. Just to block the Sox. (not that I think they will, but I wanted to illustrate how poor the Sox's prospects are these days.)

      • JoeSox November 9, 2009 at 1:31 AM #

        What prospects offer could the Yanks shit out that would be better than a really good offer from the Sox?

        Austin Jackson? A good CF who can't really hit all that well?
        Jesus Montero? Amazing bat, but I have yet to hear from anyone outside of the Yankee organization that he can stick at Catcher. Everyone says future 1B, which both SD and NY have already.
        Joba? Hughes? Definitely valuable and combined could be a great offer, but that's a lot of pitching depth they'd be losing. Without them, color me unimpressed.

        And the only thing the Sox Minor League system is poor in is major league ready talent. There's really no one in AAA that is a potential star. Reddick's there and Bowden might be there, but they're league average. AA is a bit better, but the real potential of the Sox system is in the A+/A/A- levels. If you don't see value in those levels, I can't help you.

        • Dale Sams November 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

          You pretty much covered all the bases and answered your own question.

          1) Joba or Hughes+Jackson +whatever trash they want to throw in>an A ball Sox package (which I agree has some value)

          They also still need to figure out what the heck to do with Wang and Ian Kennedy, and do they keep Gardner And Cabrera? I know neither is Grady Sizemore., but….

          And that's just The Yanks.

  2. _Marcos_ November 8, 2009 at 7:21 PM #

    You may get your wish Evan. The Snyder-Ovebay was called off. It turns out Snyder's back is still pretty messed up, even after surgery.

  3. Zoran November 8, 2009 at 9:10 PM #

    Shame that they do not sign Gonsales, where they will finde so good player for that money?

  4. Gerry November 8, 2009 at 9:26 PM #

    Sign Gonzo, even to 2/1@$10-12MM. With Jed Lowrie, and Iglesias coming up, this could fully resolve SS issues AND infield backup position for a decade. My fear is paying big $$ for someone who will not pan out with both offense and defense, while needlessly blocking Lowrie and Iglesias. Let Theo focus his time and available $$ on LF, AGon, Harden/Bedard/etc,, Beckett, long term catching (Wagner might be the answer to the running games of the Rays and Angels.).

    • evanbrunell November 8, 2009 at 11:18 PM #

      Why decline his 1 mil option just to sign him to 2/10-12? Won't happen.

      • gerry November 9, 2009 at 12:46 AM #

        What did I miss? We declined his six (6) mil option. I suggested 3 years (2/1) at $10-12, which is 3-4M per year. IMO, he's well worth it.

  5. Ryan M November 8, 2009 at 11:50 PM #

    Gonzalez only looked good in the context of the AA fodder the sox were reduced to playing. His defense was always more eye-candy than production, and he's lost a step since then. Aside from the steadiness of his glove, he was only a good shortstop in the sense that he wasn't Lowrie or Green, two 3B pretending to be SS. How many times in September did he range deep into the hole and fail to make the play? I kept getting excited because that was the type of thing that Green couldn't even pretend to try, but Gonzalez was not executing on defense either.

    He hit well in Boston if you think the .284 is for real. There is nothing in his career that suggests it is. If you drop 30 points from his batting average with Boston (which is generous considering how he hit with the Reds in the weaker league and in a bandbox), that becomes .254/.286/.423. And if you think he'll keep putting up an XBH every ten at bats next year, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Alex Gonzalez is an average defensive shortstop with a replacement level bat, and I'm being generous on both accounts. If we want somebody like that, we should pick up Omar Vizquel, who has maintained his UZR nicely, or Adam Everett. Either could be had for $2 mill/year. John McDonald isn't that far behind that skillset and might get nothing more than a NRI. The difference between them and Alex Gonzalez is not $4 million.

    • JoeSox November 9, 2009 at 1:35 AM #

      I really don't disagree with you, which is why I'd hate it if we signed him to a 3 year deal, but the problem is that there really aren't any better options.

      The FA market is thin, thin, thin, and I don't think there's anyone worth it to trade for with Hardy gone (I think Drew's positive defense this year will evaporate next year). Give Gonzalez an okay 1-year deal with a team option for a second year that you have no plan on exercising and call it a day. That's the best you can do at this point unless something drastic happens at the GM Meetings.