Report: Red Sox close to acquiring Gonzalez


Report: Red Sox close to acquiring Gonzalez

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.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.