Just when the Adrian Gonzalez trade talk seemed to have died down, his agent told the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday that he expects the Padres to deal the 27-year-old first baseman:
I don’t ever want to speak for ownership because I have no knowledge of what they have and what they don’t, but the feeling we’re getting is more than likely they are going to have to trade Adrian Gonzalez because they can’t afford him.
Asked about Gonzalez’s chances of remaining in San Diego long term, team CEO Jeff Moorad had a similarly pessimistic response:
While I’d be thrilled to have him part of the organization for the long term, the early signals indicate his cost will be greater than our ability to pay.
The combination of those quotes seemingly makes it all but certain that Gonzalez will be traded, but here’s the thing: San Diego still has him under contract for two more seasons at a combined cost of just $10.25 million. Controlling him cheaply for 2010 and 2011 obviously gives Gonzalez a lot more trade value, but it also means the Padres could try to rebuild around him and address the contract issue when he’s actually, you know, somewhat close to becoming a free agent.
Acting like he’s a goner two full seasons before his contract ends mostly just seems like a great way to piss off your entire fan base. Gonzalez can become a free agent after 2011, but so can Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Papelbon, Mark Buehrle, J.D. Drew, and a couple dozen other prominent players. You know why there aren’t articles every week with quotes about how those guys are all goners? Because for the most part their teams realize that two years is a long time.
A lot can change between now and 2012. Gonzalez could get hurt or simply decline from his current superstar level. Or maybe the Padres could even improve and start making more money. If they want to trade Gonzalez in an effort to rebuild that’s one thing, but acting like they’re being forced to make a decision two years ahead of time–and constantly letting their fans read all about it in the newspaper–is just silly.