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.