According to Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net New England, the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have finally agreed to a contract extension that will keep the power hitting first baseman in the lineup for a very long time.
“What had been rumored for months will be made official Friday — the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez, according to sources, have agreed to a seven-year, $154 million contract extension.
A news conference to announce the deal is expected Friday afternoon.”
Is it just me, or is this just about the most anti-climactic news you’ve heard in weeks. We’ve all known that this was coming since the Red Sox and Padres completed the trade back in December. The Red Sox wouldn’t have traded four prospects, including the once untouchable Casey Kelly, to the Padres for a one year rental. As I saw it, even though A-Gon hadn’t officially agreed to the contract, I’ve been working under the assumption an agreement was a foregone conclusion. (As a reference, here was my original projection for A-Gon’s value.)
While I know that the Red Sox front office will tell you that they were holding off on completing the deal pending further evaluation of Gonzalez’s surgically repaired right shoulder, anyone who believes that is probably more than a little naive. I’m not saying this didn’t factor into the equation, but it certainly wasn’t the primary motivating factor. The main reason why the two sides waited to officially announce the completion of the contract was so the Red Sox could avoid paying the Competitive Balance Tax (also known as the luxury tax) for the 2011 season.
While I’m thrilled the Red Sox have a front office full of people who are smart and savvy enough to uncover and exploit loopholes within the collectively bargained rules, I’m not sure if it’s entirely ethical to drive a metaphorical truck through this one. The revenue sharing model baseball currently employs is clearly imperfect, but it’s there to serve a purpose. Exploitation of loopholes this egregious need to be reviewed by the offices of Major League Baseball because of their anti-competitive nature. I’m not saying that the Red Sox should be punished. In fact, far from it. They were fully playing within the rules outlined in the CBA, and it’d be grossly unfair to retroactively penalize the Red Sox for doing something other teams have been doing for years. My point is that if MLB really thinks revenue sharing is vital to the sport (a point I question), management needs to find a way to close these loopholes. Otherwise, what’s the point of having such a program?
Regardless of how I feel about the manner in which his contract situation was handled, I’m thrilled that A-Gon will be anchoring our everyday lineup through 2018. He seems like a natural fit for both the Red Sox and Fenway Park. Even better yet, his new contract looks to be a pretty good value for the club.