One of the things people have always marveled about with Adrian Gonzalez is the fact that he has been able to hit 30+ homers in four consecutive seasons with the Padres, despite playing half of his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. So, what can we expect now that A-Gone is about to be set loose?
Well, let’s start by looking at his career home-away splits:
Home: .263/.360/.440 with 61 home runs, 214 RBI and an 800 OPS (.279/.383/.438 with 11 homers, 42 RBI and an 821 OPS in 2010)
Away: .303/.376/.568 with 107 home runs, 311 RBI and a 943 OPS (.315/.402/.578 with 20 homers, 59 RBI and a 980 OPS in 2010)
This is the primary reason why the rest of the American League should be scared. Keep in mind, those home-away splits include 29 games with the Rangers in 2004 and 2005. Factoring in only PETCO Park, he has a .267/.367/.442 batting line to go along with an 808 OPS.
Fenway Park isn’t exactly a home-run haven, but it will certainly be a more fair environment, as Bill James Park Indices routinely ranks PETCO Park as the worst park for a left-handed hitter. Gonzalez’s natural inside-out swing should play brilliantly in Boston. His numbers should also see a nice boost thanks to playing plenty of road games at Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Rogers Centre, which cater to left-handed power.
So, what can we expect? Assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks with his shoulder, I’d say 40 home runs is a fair expectation for a full season away from PETCO. With a strong (and hopefully healthy) supporting cast in Boston, he also has a very good chance of topping his previous career-high of 119 RBI back in 2008.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.