Adrian Gonzalez repeatedly making it clear that he has no plans to remain in San Diego long term could motivate the Padres to trade the All-Star first baseman with one season left on his contract and now Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that there’s some doubt about Gonzalez’s health status as well.
Three weeks ago Gonzalez had surgery to “clean up” his right shoulder after playing through pain for much of the season. Initially the Padres said he’d be fully healthy in time for spring training, but yesterday Gonzalez revealed he may not be cleared to swing a bat for 4-5 months.
The four-month mark would come around a week into spring training and the five-month mark would arrive about a week before Opening Day, so based on those timetables any kind of setback could mean missed games in April. Gonzalez’s agent, John Boggs, put a slightly different spin on the timetable:
I think what Adrian is saying it that he’s going to be very cautious and take it a step at a time. He’s the type of player who can pick up a bat and be ready in a week. But what he’s saying is he’s going to take his time and make sure [his shoulder is] ready. The timeline has always been four months. He’ll be ready, but he’s not going to burst out of the gates if he’s not.
It’s an interesting situation because Gonzalez may not be exceptionally motivated to rush himself back from surgery for a team he’s not going to play for beyond 2011, particularly since the strength of his 2011 season will go a long way toward determining the size of his contract as a free agent next offseason. Should he rush back to help a team that may trade him anyway? Should he rush back if it means risking his health and performance on the verge of free agency?
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.