Just like Rocky Balboa is famous for saying “Adrian!…Adrian…Adrian”, Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres is making the Cubs, Red Sox and many other teams say the same thing. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, trade discussions involving Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres are heating up once again.
Like before, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are at the top of line when it comes to potential suitors for the Padres’ First Baseman. The overall consensus though, is that the Padres may be leaning towards holding onto Gonzalez for the start of the season. However, multiple reports suggest that the Padres are willing to trade Gonzalez at some point next week, during the Winter Meetings. If Gonzalez is traded, most believe that it will be to the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox have already made an offer to the Padres for Gonzalez, and it appears that the two teams are making “headway” on a potential trade. The Red Sox offer includes all top prospects, including pitcher Casey Kelley and shortstop Jose Iglesias. Beyond Iglesias and Kelley, the Red Sox farm system is not as great as it once was. Which leaves the door open for the Cubs to try and convince the Padres to take their offer.
It is not known at this point if the Cubs have made an offer for Gonzalez, though, the Padres are probably seeking pitcher Andrew Cashner in any offer. Whether or not the Cubs are willing to trade Cashner is debatable. Considering, that it has always been perceived that the Cubs have made Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner untouchable in regards to trades. Along with Cashner, the Cubs would probably have to include Josh Vitters and/or Hak-Ju Lee, as well as another pitching prospect.
No team will trade for Gonzalez, unless they have an exclusive window to negotiate a long-term extension with Gonzalez. Gonzalez is in the final year of his contract and he is making $5.5MM in 2011. A starting point for contract talks for Gonzalez, would be the deal that the New York Yankees gave to Mark Teixiera when he was a free agent. The Yankees signed Teixiera to a 8 year contract, worth $180 Million. With the Cubs having over $38MM coming off the books next year, they are in a position to give that type of extension to Gonzalez.
In the end, I think the Red Sox will be the winners of the Adrian Gonzalez sweepstakes. While the Cubs are strongly interested in Gonzalez, no team has coveted Gonzalez more over the past three seasons than the Red Sox have. Also, Gonzalez is said to prefer the Red Sox over any other team, considering the chances of winning and getting paid like Teixiera. Nonetheless, this all provides more drama for the Winter Meetings next week.