Seems like storylines are flying all over the place this week involving Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and it’s only Tuesday. Time to sift through the muck:
– On Sunday, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com ran a quote from a White Sox source who had this interesting tidbit about the club’s desire to obtain Gonzalez: “That’s really what we need, a big left-handed hitter,” said the Sox source. “They’re saying [General Manager] Kenny [Williams] would give anything to get him, maybe even Gordon Beckham.”
– The baseball world was given a quick response to that notion this afternoon, when White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen revealed his undying love for the young Beckham. “We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” said the skipper. “I
don’t see why people talk about it.” He hasn’t heard anything about a possible trade because no trade is being discussed. Or, probably. The White Sox are known for moving in mysterious ways and Williams, one of the more interesting GMs in the game, is also a wizard at controlling the message.
– HardballTalk’s own Matthew Pouliot analyzed a possible Beckham-Gonzalez swap in a post earlier this evening.
– There’s one thing we know for sure: Gonzalez, a San Diego native, is probably on his way out of the city (and probably the state of California) by the end of this calendar year, and maybe as soon as the July trade deadline. We know this because Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Gonzalez is going to ask for a free agent contract similar to the $180 million monstrosity that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason. It’s pretty apparent the Padres are not going to pay that.
Gonzalez, 27, has batted .279/.371/.519 with 106 home runs, 318 RBI and 105 doubles over the last three seasons while calling the ultimate pitcher’s park his home. He is under team control through 2011, for what it’s worth.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.