Report: Red Sox close to acquiring Gonzalez

December 4, 2010, 8:07 pm
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Dec. 4, 2010

SANDIEGO (AP) All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez has flown to Boston to takea physical exam needed to complete a trade from the San Diego Padres tothe Red Sox, a person familiar with the situation told The AssociatedPress on Saturday.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a trade hasn't been finalized.Gonzalez had surgery to clean up thelabrum in his non-throwing right shoulder on Oct. 20. The Padres saidthen that the three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award-winningfirst baseman was expected to be ready for spring training.The Padres, who have a long historyof dumping star players due to financial reasons, are expected toreceive prospects in the deal.Red Sox general manager Theo Epsteindid not respond to an e-mail seeking confirmation. Padres GM Jed Hoyerhasn't responded to requests for comment.Hoyer worked under Epstein inBoston's front office before he was hired as Padres GM following the2009 season. Additionally, Padres assistant GM Jason McLeod wasBoston's scouting director for seven years before returning to SanDiego last December.According to various reports, thePadres would receive pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzoand outfielder Reymond Fuentes, plus a player to be determined inexchange for Gonzalez.The popular Gonzalez grew up in theSan Diego area and was the No. 1 overall pick by Florida in the 2000amateur draft. He was obtained in a trade with Texas before the 2006season and has blossomed into one of the game's best first basemen. Theleft-hander hit .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs last season.Boston was interested in Gonzalez last winter.While many had expected Gonzalez tobe traded before the deadline last summer, the Padres were surprisecontenders in the NL West and had to keep the slugger.The Padres went 90-72 despiteopening the season with a payroll of 37.8 million, second-lowest inthe majors. San Diego was in contention until the final day, when itsloss at San Francisco, coupled with Atlanta's win over Philadelphia,eliminated the Padres from the NL West and wild-card races.Hoyer has said for some time thatthe Padres wouldn't be able to afford the kind of big-money contractGonzalez would command if he hit the free-agent market.Hoyer also has said he anticipatedGonzalez being on the opening-day roster. But the allure of prospectsis probably too much to pass up for a team that anticipates a playerpayroll of approximately 40 million.The Padres recently exercisedGonzalez's 6.2 million option for 2011, the final year of ateam-friendly 15 million, five-year contract he signed in 2007.It wasn't clear whether the Red Sox had started talks with Gonzalez's agent regarding a contract extension.In five seasons with San Diego,Gonzalez has 161 homers - two shy of Nate Colbert's club record - and501 RBIs. Including parts of two seasons with Texas, he has 168 homersand 525 RBIs.He set a Padres record with his fourth 30-homer season. His third 100-RBI season tied Phil Nevin for the most in club history.The Padres already have lostright-hander Jon Garland, shortstop Miguel Tejada and catcher YorvitTorrealba to free agency, and won't re-sign outfielders Scott Hairstonand Tony Gwynn Jr. They also declined to pick up right-hander ChrisYoung's 8.5 million option.If the trade goes through, thePadres will have to find another first baseman, in addition to someoneto play second base and shortstop. Kyle Blanks, the heir apparent toGonzalez, had reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in late Julyand is expected to be sidelined until perhaps midseason.In a salary purge that lasted fromSeptember 1992 to July 1993, the Padres traded All-Stars Fred McGriff,Gary Sheffield and Tony Fernandez, and let Randy Myers and All-StarBenito Santiago leave via free agency. They also traded Craig Lefferts,Bruce Hurst, Greg Harris and Darrin Jackson.After being swept by the New YorkYankees in the 1998 World Series, they let Kevin Brown, Ken Caminitiand Steve Finley leave as free agents and traded Greg Vaughn.Less than two weeks after that WorldSeries ended, voters overwhelmingly approved Petco Park, which wassupposed to have provided the revenue to make the Padres consistentcontenders. San Diego won the NL West in 2005-06, but has won only onepostseason game since 1998.