When SI.com’s Jon Heyman first reported that the trade designed to send Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox was killed by a contract dispute, my reaction was: “Wow, that’s crazy.”
But it’s not crazy. Not at all.
In fact, both sides were right to balk.
Adrian Gonzalez hit .298/.393/.511 this past season with 31 home runs and 101 RBI while playing solid defense at the first base position. He’s 28 years old, talented as any first baseman in the league not named Pujols and looking to cash in on his impending free agency.
So when the Red Sox made a mandate Saturday that Gonzalez sign a long-term contract extension before finalizing the blockbuster five-player trade, he asked for a deal similar to the eight-year, $180 million behemoth that Mark Teixeira signed in December of 2008 with the Yankees.
Remember, the Red Sox helped drive up that Teixeira contract. But they’re not wrong for choosing to not pay it now.
Gonzalez will be a free agent next winter and the Yankees already have a body at first base. The Red Sox can wait another year, enter the highest bid against little competition, and get their man without offering up four quality prospects.
This baby was doomed from the start.
Intelligent baseball clubs usually work cautiously and pay attention to all the details. The Sox employ some of the top minds in the game and were right to stay level-headed in negotiations. They’ll bring Gonzalez aboard next year and keep their farm system from being depleted.