Adrian Gonzalez: “I haven’t signed any contract” with Boston

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Various reports following the Red Sox’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez suggested that the two sides had a preliminary agreement in place for a long-term contract extension, but were delaying an official announcement in part to avoid the luxury tax ramifications for 2011.

That may still be the case, as the whole point of the maneuvering would be to keep it unofficial and under wraps at this point, but Gonzalez did an interview with a Mexican blog Puro Beisbol that indicated talk of a preliminary agreement may be premature.

Here’s a translated excerpt, courtesy of Nick Collias from MLB Trade Rumors:

Nothing about that is true. It’s false. I haven’t signed any contract. We discussed the trade, but we didn’t reach any agreement, and we didn’t negotiate numbers. The only thing I have for sure is the contract that I had already signed with the Padres, and what I can tell you is that over the course of the season we’re going to negotiate to reach an agreement.

What makes it impossible to determine the truth in this situation is that Gonzalez would probably say more or less the exact same thing whether they’d agreed to a contract or not. If there’s indeed no contract in place, then his comments could be taken at face value. And if there is a contract in place, as has been reported, then the Red Sox would have told him to deny that anyway to avoid ruining the plan to manipulate the luxury tax ramifications.

Whatever the case, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t have given up three top-rated prospects without being extremely confident about signing Gonzalez to a long-term deal, and in fact when the trade with the Padres was briefly reported as being nixed the reason given was that they failed to agree to a contract in the MLB-allotted negotiating window.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.