We all looked kind of silly last winter assuming that Adrian Gonzalez was going to be traded. We never took into account the possibility that the Padres could, you know, win some ballgames. But win they did, and it took Gonzalez right out of the trade speculation pool before the weather got hot. What’s more, the Padres success had some people thinking that maybe the club could find a way to keep the hometown hero in the fold after all.
Yeah, about that:
The agent for Adrian Gonzalez says it’s “pretty much a fait accompli” that the Padres slugger will test the free-agent market after the 2011 season . . . [Gonzalez’s agent] says he’ll seek market value for the three-time All-Star and doesn’t anticipate the Padres veering from their financial structure.
Maybe this all talk, though, and the Padres feel differently about the possibility of signing their stud. Jed Hoyer?
Hoyer says the type of contract Gonzalez will seek in free agency is something that only a handful of markets can support, “and San Diego is not one of them.” Hoyer says it doesn’t make sense to make an offer that doesn’t come close to what Gonzalez would want.
If the agent says the guy is going to test the market and seek top dollar, and the GM says the team can’t afford him, doesn’t that put us right back into “the Padres are going to trade Adrian Gonzalez” territory? And with him making an insanely low $5.5 million this year, wouldn’t it make him a highly sought after commodity? If you’re in he market for a corner bat, how are you not banging down Jed Hoyer’s door right now?
And if you’re Jed Hoyer, can you really just decide to hold on and wait for the 2012 draft picks? Don’t you have to see if you can’t do better?
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.