Agent: Pads slugger almost sure to test market
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) – San Diego Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez is as good as gone after the 2011 season.
Both sides have figured for some time that the three-time All-Star would be too expensive to remain with his hometown team after next season. Nothing’s changed after agent John Boggs had lunch this week with general manager Jed Hoyer.
“It’s not a surprise,” Hoyer said Thursday. “We sat down and confirmed that.”
Boggs said it’s “pretty much a fait accompli” that Gonzalez will test the free agent market after the 2011 season.
“It’s a situation where Jed and the Padres obviously know his value,” Boggs said. “The question is, what are we going to seek. We’re going to seek market value for Adrian Gonzalez. Obviously I don’t think the Padres will dedicate that much of their salary structure to one player.”
Barring any drastic developments, Hoyer said the Padres won’t make an offer.
“It makes no sense in making offers that don’t come close to what his desires are,” Hoyer said.
The Padres exercised their 2011 option on Gonzalez on Tuesday. Originally worth $5.5 million, the option grew to $6.2 million based on escalators. His salary will increase by $100,000 if he wins a third Gold Glove award this fall. Next season is the final year of Gonzalez’s team-friendly $15 million, five-year contract he signed in 2007.
“Nothing that’s happened is unexpected,” Hoyer said. “He’s had a fantastic career and he wants to test out the free agent market and see if he gets that franchise-player contract he’s been working toward. To his credit, he signed a deal that has worked out very well for the club and he’s never said a word about it. There’s always been a desire to see what’s on the free agent market for him.”
Gonzalez grew up in the San Diego area and was the No. 1 overall pick by Florida in the 2000 amateur draft. He was obtained in a trade with Texas before the 2006 season and has blossomed into one of the game’s best first basemen. He hit .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs last season for San Diego, which was eliminated from playoff contention on the season’s last day.
The next day Hoyer said that if Gonzalez wants Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard money, “that’s not something we’re going to be able to do.”
Howard agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract extension in April with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Teixeira finished the second season of a $180 million, eight-year contract with the New York Yankees.
“The type of contract that he will be seeking in free agency is something that only a handful of markets can support and San Diego is not one of them,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said he’s had a cordial relationship with Boggs.
“I don’t begrudge Adrian whatsoever,” the GM said. “He’s earned the right to make a lot of money.”
In five seasons with San Diego, Gonzalez has 161 homers – two shy of Nate Colbert’s club record – and 501 RBIs. Including parts of two seasons with Texas, he has 168 homers and 525 RBIs.
The left-hander set a franchise record with his fourth 30-homer season. His third 100-RBI season tied Phil Nevin for the most in club history.
Whether Gonzalez is with the Padres through the 2011 season remains to be seen.
“I anticipate him being our first baseman next year,” Hoyer said. “I certainly hope he finishes the season with us. That means we’d have a good season.”
The Padres went 90-72 despite opening the season with a payroll of $37.8 million, second-lowest in the majors. Hoyer expects the payroll to be higher next season.
Boggs said Gonzalez, coming off shoulder surgery, isn’t focusing on free agency, but on playing well “and bringing a championship to San Diego. We hope to get past the final day of the season with the Padres. Free agency will take care of itself.”