Adrian Gonzalez is as good as gone

24 Comments

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.

Well then.

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?

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).