Since the recently forecast Daisuke Matsuka is “…like a box of chocolates”, let’s go glass half full and empty on the Red Sox biggest trade acquisition this winter.

Adrian Gonzalez

Optimism: The sweet swinging first baseman was made for Fenway Park. Gonzalez can take advantage of the Monster a la Wade Boggs. But unlike the Hall of Famer, he will also pull the ball to right field for round trippers. Gonzalez’s road numbers are just the start of his potential going from pitcher friendly Petco to Fenway. He also played with a shoulder injury last year that will be fully healed by Opening Day, so the sky’s the limit for his production in 2011.

Pessimist: Entering his age twenty-nine season, Gonzalez is exiting a player’s normal prime years. He is unlikely to fall off a cliff but the first baseman is on the downside on his career. The All-Star is also moving from the National League to the toughest division in baseball. Tougher competition will probably lead to lower production.

Even though Gonzalez’s rehab on his shoulder is going “smoothly“, initially he indicated it was possible that “he may not be cleared to swing a bat for 4-5 months.” This prognosis does seem unlikely but if the All-Star is not confident, then he will not perform well or at all. Gonzalez may not have enough time in Fort Myers to gain a comfort level with his shoulder and old swing. The first baseman used a lighter bat and did not pull the ball as much to compensate for his weaker shoulder. As John Boggs said to, “He’ll be ready … but he’s not going to burst out of the gates if he’s not.”

Gonzalez will need to adjust not only to a new city but becoming an instant celebrity in baseball crazy Boston. He has to get used to cell phone camera flashes, autograph seekers and “Yo Adrian!” during his morning coffee runs. Manny Ramirez never got used to it, but never took it into the batter‘s box. The former Red Sox outfielder was a unique personality, and that is an understatement, being a celebrity could negatively affect Gonzalez’s production on the field.

Gonzalez has to transition to tougher competition, feel confident in his shoulder and old swing as well as being a celebrity. It could be slow out of the gate. If so, his mental toughness will be tested as the media and fans will ramp up the pressure to produce. Dustin Pedroia lived through a slow start to his career and thrived but others have not done so well.

Since 2003, Tom Fratamico is the writer for El Guapo’s Ghost and can be followed on Twitter @ElGuaposGhost