With now former assistant GM Jed Hoyer departing to become the head honcho in San Diego, how does this affect a potential acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez back in Boston?
I’ve heard more people than not say that it will only become easier. I’m here to burst your bubble and say it will be harder.
Whatever is gained from a working relationship between Hoyer and Epstein is lost in three major factors, which we’ll cover today.
Before we do, I want to mention that any possible chummy relationship Hoyer may have with Epstein doesn’t automatically lend oneself to better trade talks. Look at the Arizona Diamondbacks with Josh Byrnes at the helm. Can you recall one single trade the Sox have made with the Diamondbacks in the Byrnes/Epstein era? Exactly.
Chummy relationship aside, here are three things that affect Boston’s ability to get Adrian Gonzalez:
IMPACT OF A NEW GENERAL MANAGER TRADING FACE OF FRANCHISE
The San Diego Padres showed promise at the end of the season, posting a 33-25 record to end the season. That number, plus San Diego’s burgeoning youngsters built around the hometown native Adrian Gonzalez — one of the best hitters in the game — will give Hoyer pause as he evaluates the team.
Putting aside for the moment how long Hoyer will take to evaluate each Padres’ player, the staff around him and the infrastructure therein — making it close to impossible to pull off a blockbuster before the season — is it really a good idea for a new GM to come right in and trade the face of the franchise?
What’s stopping Hoyer from hanging on to Gonzalez through at least the All-Star Break, giving the Padres a chance to compete and then fielding offers as the deadline approaches?
Gonzalez has a ridiculously affordable salary coming his way in 2010: $4.75 million with a $5.5 million club option for 2011.
There is absolutely zero pressure on Hoyer to trade Gonzalez. If you were in his shoes, is there any possible reason past an offer blowing you away that would cause you to move Gonzalez in the offseason?
I for one can’t think of any.
NO FLUFF CAN BE USED
I can’t quite recall the word that baseball front office executives use, but there is a term used for prospects that may look enticing on the outside, but the organization the player is in doesn’t value them at all. Basically, overhyped prospects that the organization doesn’t trust for a long-term future. For lack of a better term, we’ll call them “fluff.”
Well… Theo cannot rely on fluff to swing a trade with Hoyer. There’s no Brandon Moss that will seal the deal. Hoyer is well aware what that “fluff” is. It’s going to be that much harder to swing the deal now that Hoyer knows exactly who to say no to that other clubs or former Padres GM Kevin Towers may have said yes to.
The last point is very much so related to this fluff situation…
HOYER’S KNOWLEDGE OF THE DEAL
Hoyer was around for the previous trade negotiations with San Diego. He knows what Theo was willing to give up, what he wasn’t. He knows what Towers wanted, what he rejected.
Combined with the second point above, this all fuses together into one key element: Hoyer knows exactly what would get a deal done. Is that a good thing? Sure, maybe — it means that negotiations will go faster and smoother than they would have with Towers.
On the other hand, it’s a bad thing. What if Theo refuses to give up what Hoyer will demand? Given Theo’s reluctance on trading away his farm, you can understand how he would not only want to make a fair deal but get the upper hand in the deal. Hoyer knows what Theo will give up if pressured. He knows who he will move to protect — and target those players for that exact reasons.
And of course, Theo knows that Hoyer knows. And just to confuse it more, Hoyer knows that Theo knows that Hoyer knows. And Theo knows that… okay, you get the point.
DOES IT MEAN A DEAL CAN’T GET DONE?
No. Not at all. As I briefly mentioned, the knowledge that each has of the Boston system and the trade situation means a lot of the chaff can be cut through and the deal can be attacked immediately. There’s something to be said for that.
But for anyone saying that the coming will be easier, I only see the road ahead being harder.