Report: The Red Sox have a tentative contract extension in place for Adrian Gonzalez

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Bob Nightengale reports that the Red Sox have a preliminary agreement to sign Adrian Gonzalez to a seven-year $154 million extension. The deal probably won’t be announced until April because of the luxury tax, however.

Two observations:

  • If Gonzalez couldn’t bootstrap the Jayson Werth deal into something bigger for himself, there’s no reason to think that Carl Crawford can, as so many people are assuming he will. Just because the Nats are dumb doesn’t mean any other teams are; and
  • If there really is a deal in place now, this waiting until April to avoid the luxury tax business is silly.  When the game is being so transparently rigged, it’s time to change the rules of the game.

All of that said, anyone who thinks that the Sox traded for Gonzalez without thinking that they were certain that an extension would get done is nutso.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.