There will be no hometown discount for Adrian Gonzalez

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It’s long seemed obvious that Adrian Gonzalez won’t be signing a mutli-year extension with the Padres. The real question is how long into his current, very reasonable deal the Padres will keep him before putting him on the market. But in the unlikely event that the Padres do look to keep him around long term, they shouldn’t expect any bargains.

“This next contract is going to be the contract I think I deserve,” Gonzalez said today, while also confirming that there were no
current discussions between his agent and the team.  He added that he “wants to win as a Padre more than anything else” but that he has no sense of what his future holds.

While he may not be on quite the same level as Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols, he’s the unquestionable face of the Padres and the most important player on that team since Tony Gwynn retired.  In light of this I wish people would offer the same “I think it be best for the team if he stayed put . . .” disclaimers when discussing Gonzalez’s future that they do for Mauer and Pujols.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉