The Red Sox Should Not Trade For Adrian Gonzalez

June 26, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers Prince Fielder  gets a hold of a pitch by Mariners starter Doug Fister, Fielder had a double and a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning off of Mariners Doug Fister..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Seattle Mariners 4-5..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

Adrian Gonzalez is a very good player. On most teams, he would a plus on the field. But when you dig deeper, the Red Sox will have less costly options this winter and likely one or two comparable free agent first basemen in a year from now.

The Padres will want at least two top prospects for Gonzalez, as it would be a better return than the pair of draft picks they would receive when the All-Star first baseman departs after the 2011 season. The Red Sox do not need to exchange prospects for one-year of Gonzalez. It would deviate the organization from reaching the other side of the bridge. And more importantly, they could just wait to sign him next winter or a better possibility at first.

Assuming Albert Pujols stays in St. Louis, the other option at first is Prince Fielder. Even though Fielder is not at the same level as Gonzalez in the field, over the past three seasons, the pair have put up similar production with the wood. Fielder also appears to be less of a risk with the stick going forward.

Gonzalez is two years older than Fielder. The Red Sox would not be buying any of A-Gone’s seasons on right side of thirty. They would get two of Fielder’s. Gonzalez also has some questionable comparable players. The names of Alvin Davis, Mo Vaughn, George Bell, Danny Tartabull, and Richie Sexson indicate that A-Gone may not be an elite hitter through most of his next contract. The other names point to him being just a productive hitter. Fielder’s comps are not that much more encouraging when looking beyond their early thirty’s, but the Sox would have the slugger starting at age 28. Being two years younger than A-Gone, Fielder would be more likely to give Yawkey Way four years of probable elite performance than two from the current Padre.

The Red Sox should stay the course and not trade valuable prospects for Gonzalez. The Olde Towne Team can sign him or Fielder after the 2011 season for nothing more than a draft pick, if that. Plus, A-Gone is a riskier projection in 2012 and beyond than Fielder. The Red Sox should wait for Prince Fielder.

Categories: Adrian Gonzalez Prince Fielder

11 Responses to “The Red Sox Should Not Trade For Adrian Gonzalez” Subscribe

  1. GreggB November 11, 2010 at 5:04 AM #

    First of all, a high draft pick is just another top prospect. So as far as timing the strategy could boil down to two top prospects to trade for either of them now, or one top prospect to wait another year (when each will be a year older).

    In my opinion, getting the extra year out of either player, if a deal can be done, is worth it. You join many others in counting top prospects as though they are sure things. Less than half of top prospects have sustained roles as regulars in the majors — and only a very very small percentage become what either of these guys are — consistent, proven superstars. There is no one we have in the system whom anyone would project to equal either of these guys.

    Which of the two is preferable? You are right that Fielder has the age advantage, but take a look at the picture you posted. This guy is 26 and looks like that? He's headed for DH, and possibly a short career even there.

    Finally, Fielder is a mediocre first baseman, while Adrian is a multiple gold glove winner.

    Sorry, disagree on all fronts. Cough up the prospects and sign Adrian Gonzalez long-term. We will have the best infield in the majors for years…

    • Just a guy November 11, 2010 at 1:16 PM #

      “First of all, a high draft pick is just another top prospect. So as far as timing the strategy could boil down to two top prospects to trade for either of them now, or one top prospect to wait another year (when each will be a year older).”

      Sorry, this is not completely true. A first round draft pick is worth less than a top prospect because there is additional uncertainty. Further, the Red Sox may not be giving up a first round pick for Gonzalez if they sign two type-A free agents the following year; they would be giving up effectively half a first-round pick and half a second-round pick. This is what we saw with Scutaro; I’m pretty sure the Sox would not have signed Scutaro if they didn’t intend on signing another type-A.

      • hankaaron November 11, 2010 at 11:50 PM #

        Cough up the prospects and sign Adrian Gonzalez long-term. We will have the best infield in the majors for years…

        I absolutely agree with this. Noting the point above that a prospect has more value than a draft pick, it still doesn't change the balance that much. Of course, nobody is really clearly defining what the sox are giving up here. Two prospects could be Kelly and Iglesias, which might be too steep or Kalish and Anderson which I think is well worth it. Gonzalez' comparables are somewhat misleading as noted below and I think it is likely Gonzalez will be an elite hitter for at least 3 more if not longer, and if this was 1996-2008 I'd be confident he'd hit at an elite level for another 6 seasons..

  2. NOLAsox November 11, 2010 at 10:42 AM #

    Although I enjoyed the piece, I have to quibble. The problem with using comparables for Gonzalez is that he has those ridiculous home/road splits. If he had spent his career so far in any other home stadium, his numbers and comparables would be much, much more impressive.
    I also agree with the previous commenter that Fielder’s body is way too much of a risk to sign to a 6-7 year deal, which of course is what he will demand. I just can’t see Theo signing him to that kind of deal.

    • El Guapo's Ghos November 11, 2010 at 7:44 AM #

      OPS+ does account for park so it does appear that AGone's comps could be better – 126 avg OPS+ v 137.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/scomp_bat….
      Fielder's comps may be better for AGone.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/scomp_bat….

      So if you assume that comps are the same, I want the younger guy despite the bad body. A number of fat guys hit for a long time. But this weekend, I'll run some numbers and post a forecast for each on my blog.

      As far as giving up prospects, I would be ok with trading players where the organization has depth. The Sox system does not have much for varying reasons.

      In general FAs have been more costly (Scutaro $12.5/2, Cameron 15.5/2, Beltre 10/1, Damon 8/1, Matsui 6.5/1) than prospects @ $5M ($1.25M/25% of prospect being a regular). Of course, the 25% is subjective and the biggest variable. But I think Kalish, Lowrie or Iglesias have better than a 25% shot.

  3. Gerry November 11, 2010 at 4:04 PM #

    I too am concerned about Prince’s body type long term, and the fact that Boras has already stated he is worth Teixeira money adds concern about his true value to the Sox. The Brewers have worked with the Prince’s weight issues even harder than the Giants have worked with the Panda’s, but to no avail … they both make Babe Ruth look sveldt.

    If there is a solution, the best one appears to be: re-sign Beltre at 3b, keep Youk at 1b. Combined they will provide better D and comparable offensive #’s for the same time period. Their COMBINED salaries ($26MM??) will cost not much more than just one of Fielder or AGon, (and no top prospects) thereby freeing up nearly $10MM towards signing the several top RP’s this team needs more than improving an already strong offense.

    Yes, it is possible Beltre’s #’s will regress, but no one would be surprised if at Fenway on a contending team this regression would reduce him to a merely mortal .300/.350/.500 with 25HR/402b/80RBI (not far from his #’s away from Safeco). It is equally possible that AGon or Fielder, in the ALE against its so many strong LH pitchers, will struggle similarly. IMO none of them will have bad years in Boston, but AB/Youk might be the best option for the next 4 years.

  4. B_isback November 11, 2010 at 8:13 PM #

    I have to agree with the post. Check my history on this board. I usually only show up during hot stove season. I have no special love for so called “sure thing prospects” (see Teixeira vs. blocking Lars Anderson) However, I can’t see stripping the farm and possibly some young starters to do this now. I see too many questions with current starters, and too much cash already committed to next year to make this prudent.
    No doubt payroll won’t be that much lower after this off-season. But who else has the need and means to afford the prospects and contract extension for A-gon mid-season? Make the right choices this off season, and you only need the 1 guy to put you in the drivers seat. And how can you jump on A-Gon without watching the Puhols negotiations develop. Age is of ZERO consideration in my book if you have a choice between those 2. Nor is money. Prince Feilder? No thanks. Kirby Puckett may have had a bad body too, but I don’t have a lot of faith in Prince.

    • B_isback November 11, 2010 at 9:08 PM #

      I should rephrase my initial comment. To trade for A-Gon now, not in favor. If he makes FA, and Puhols stays in St. Louis, it’s A-Gon by leaps and bounds over Prince.

  5. El Guapo's Ghos November 14, 2010 at 7:48 AM #

    The data and my calculations back up my assertion. In 2012, Fielder is projected to put up a 139 OPS+ at age twenty eight and then 137, 134, 124, 113, 116. By comparison, Gonzalez’s forecast is 142 OPS+ as a thirty year-old, and then 132, 116, 128. They look like similar hitters in 2012-2015, but many of Gonzalez’s comparables – and for that matter Fielder’s – were essentially out of baseball after the age of thirty three. Even after applying the Brewer first baseman’s comps to account for Petco, A_Gone has a projection that is only slightly better and still has the beyond thirty three issue.

    For more details on this topic and spreadsheet link, visit elguaposghost.blogspot.com.

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