Adrian Gonzalez takes another step away from the Sox

MLB 2010 - Padres Beat Rockies 5-4
I've never thought the Red Sox had much shot of adding Adrian Gonzalez this past offseason or any year before his free agency year. So far this season though Gonzalez and the Padres have made a deal even harder as he is off to a huge start and the Padres are winning. They are currently 4 games above .500 in this young season with Gonzalez producing very well. That is not the newest reason for a diminished chance to add Gonzalez. I think the awful signing of Ryan Howard might hinder the future prospects of signing the slugging first baseman. Howard agreed to a five year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for a total of $125 million. That at first seems like a bit of an overpay, but when you add on a $23 million option with a $10 million buy out and his two years left on his current deal it is a train wreck. This has to change the market when looking at all the big name power hitting sluggers coming up in the next few years. That list includes Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Plus they're all better and younger than Howard. These guys will all be signing deals that start in there pre 30's except the best of the bunch, Pujols.
MLB 2010 - Padres Beat Rockies 5-4

I’ve never thought the Red Sox had much shot of adding Adrian Gonzalez this past off-season or any year before his free agency year. So far this season though, Gonzalez and the Padres have made a deal even harder as he is off to a huge start and the Padres are winning. They are currently four games above .500 in this young season with Gonzalez producing very well.

That is not the newest reason for a diminished chance to add Gonzalez.  I think the awful signing of Ryan Howard might hinder the future prospects of signing the slugging first baseman.  Howard agreed to a five-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for a total of $125 million.  That at first seems like a bit of an overpay, but when you add on a $23 million option with a $10 million buy-out and his two years left on his current deal it is a train wreck.

This has to change the market when looking at all the big name power-hitting sluggers coming up in the next few years.  That list includes Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.  Plus they’re all better and younger than Howard.  These guys will all be signing deals that start in their pre-30s except the best of the bunch, Pujols.

They should all then be getting bigger deals then Howard since his new contract is for less production and older years.  The question is how much would Gonzalez be worth now and perhaps as a free agent after 2011.

His projections are a step back from this year calling for a regression, but that hasn’t happened so far.  His biggest questions going into 2010 was the increased walk rate in 2009 at 17.5 percent and that has held solidly at 15.6 percent so far.  Then his HR/FB has matched his 2009 at 22.2 percent.  This looks like another huge year for Gonzalez and a generous WAR projection of 6.5 should be fair.

Looking forward we should project a similar number for his age 29 and 30 seasons, but a safe assumption is regression will begin at about 0.5 WAR aging each year.  So assuming he got five years that began after his current deal you would be looking to pay for 27.5 WAR in those four years.  The five years Howard just signed for only gives the Phillies about 17.5 as his age will be a huge factor.

It seems pretty clear the Red Sox would be well-suited to add Gonzalez and even go longer than five years, but now we need to look at how much a win above replacement is worth right now.  The old market called for about $4.5 million, but the past two or so seasons that number has been down.  Of course if you go by the Howard market you’re looking at $7.14 per WAR!

So based on the old market, a five-year deal for Gonzalez would be about $123 million or roughly the number Howard got.  If he was to get the value Howard pulled out of the Phillies, he would be signed for $196 million over five years.  That might seem ridiculous, but his agent would be dumb not to start negotiations there.

The Red Sox are a bit loaded this year at first base, third base and designated hitter, and would have too much trouble fitting in Gonzalez without an injury or other trades.  Then getting a solid start by San Diego and Gonzalez you can see there isn’t much reason for Jed Hoyer to move his big name.  The Sox then have to deal with a player with just over a year left under contract and very big contract demands.

The prospects for adding Gonzalez before 2012 continue to look dim.  This might make someone like Prince Fielder step in as a second prize for the Sox.  His defense is a step down, but being two years younger than Gonzalez should not be ignored.

Categories: Adrian Gonzalez Albert Pujols Boston Red Sox Ryan Howard

After taking an interest in sabermetrics and statistical analysis Troy began trying to use it to an advantage in fantasy baseball. He started the website RotoSavants.com and also spent time at HardballTimes.com and FantasyPros911.com. After a few years the interest in the Red Sox drew him to start a Red Sox-oriented site (Yawkey Way Academy) with fellow writer Lee Perrault. A short time later he joined Fire Brand. Writer from: December 14, 2009 – July 24, 2010, March 3, 2011 – May 10, 2012.

10 Responses to “Adrian Gonzalez takes another step away from the Sox” Subscribe

  1. jeff April 27, 2010 at 5:00 PM #

    I don’t think the Howard deal really changes a lot. This deal is already regarded as a bad deal around baseball and therefore will be discredited as a benchmark. Plus, how many teams out there can really afford to sign a player for 20+ million a year? Then add in a multiple guys of similar skill on the market and the price seems to be moving down than moving up. If these guys were smart they would be signing extensions (like Howard) based on what the market could potential be rather than getting to free agency and seeing what it actually is. Competition would drive the price of these players down on an open market. Also, one major advantage big money teams like the Red Sox have over other teams is the ability to increase their talent pool without going though the draft by signing international free agents. This is a really big loophole that needs to be addressed by MLB, but in the mean time the Red Sox are taking advantage of this. Could the signing of Cuban catcher Ibarra be an indication that the Red Sox were preparing to trade away talent in a potential Adrian Gonzalez (or someone else) deal? Not necessarily, but it’s not too far fetched to think so.

  2. ChiTomA April 27, 2010 at 5:16 PM #

    I think Jeff's on the right track here. The Howard contract will be viewed more as an outlier than as a trend-setter. Look at the really bad contracts given over the last few years: Soriano, Vernon Wells, Zito. All of these contracts weren't then replicated by other teams. They were viewed as terrible contracts and not representative of the general market. In fact, what a player gets as a free agent has more to do with the teams bidding (or perceived to be bidding) than anything else. The fact that Howard wasn't going to be a free agent for another two years and the Phillies had to pay a premium rather than get a discount is just a disaster for them.

    In fact, the market for power-hitting first basemen has been pretty reasonable. Other than this new Howard monstrosity, the only major deal we've seen recently was the Tex's deal with the Yankees which had an annual value less than $24 mil per year and he's a significantly better player with a much friendlier career trajectory than Howard. If Pujols gets re-signed for $35 mil per year by the Cards now then all bets are off, but otherwise I'd expect that Gonzalez is looking at about the same amount, or slightly less, than Howard.

    Now, the Red Sox may still go in another direction, but I don't think that their decision will be related to Howard's contract.

  3. El Guapo's Ghost April 27, 2010 at 6:31 PM #

    "Competition would drive the price of these players down on an open market."

    Jeff, when has competition for STAR players lead to a decrease in price? – Tom

  4. John April 27, 2010 at 6:34 PM #

    I'm not worried about the Howard contract. If he's worth $25 million, A Gonz and Pujols are worth $35 or $40 million, and no one's paying that.

  5. Shane April 27, 2010 at 7:00 PM #

    I'd be more worried if other big money teams (Yankees/Angles) didn't seem to have 1B locked up. The Mets and Mariners might be a challenge, but I can't think of anyone else with the resources to trump the Howard deal.

  6. ChiTomA April 27, 2010 at 7:28 PM #

    I think that Jeff is talking about there being more players of Howard's caliber on the market. If he, Pujols, and Gonzalez were all free agents in the same year, there might be a better chance of signing them at least one of them at a lower price, whereas the situation I was talking about was if there's only one star player at a position that is a free agent in a year and there are multiple teams with the money to sign them. We were talking about opposite situations.

  7. ChiTomA April 27, 2010 at 7:30 PM #

    Yep, you've got it. The Yankees and Angels have that spot locked up. The Mets may if Ike Davis works out for them and with the Mariners you wonder if they'll be able to outlay that much money. I don't think Gonzalez is going to trump the average value of the Howard extension.

    Smart teams may front load a deal with him so he's making more during his productive earlier years of the contract and less later. Unlike the Phillies who are just paying a ridiculous amount the whole way though.

  8. jeff April 27, 2010 at 7:58 PM #

    simply supply and demand. the greater the supply the less the demand.

  9. Trey April 28, 2010 at 7:22 AM #

    "…since his new contract is for less production and older years…."
    "His biggest questions was…"
    "So assuming he got five years that began…"

    Troy: did you ever attend high school? Junior high? Have you ever hear of something called grammar?

    • injunsteve April 28, 2010 at 5:27 PM #

      "Have you ever hear of something called grammar?"

      I have heared of it, but I don't not likes it very much. Glass houses Trey. If you are going to comment on grammar you better be damned sure your post is flawless!