Should The Padres Trade Adrian Gonzalez?
Ordinarily, the mere suggestion of a team trading a 26-year-old All Star, potential MVP and Gold Glove winner like Adrian Gonzalez would be considered absurd, but most organizations aren’t as ancient and woebegone as the San Diego Padres. Considering the wretched roster the current management has formulated, I don’t have much faith in them making such a move and getting adequate return, but with the way the major league roster is constructed with veterans nearing retirement (Greg Maddux, Trevor Hoffman); declining in production (Brian Giles); high draft choices who are feast or famine (Khalil Greene); high-end talents that can’t stay healthy (Chris Young); and scrapheap pickups who can be found on the waiver wire (Michael “The Right Hook” Barrett, Cha Seung Baek, Josh Banks, Jody Gerut), there’s little reason for them to keep Gonzalez if they can use him and his inexpensive contract to re-stock the organization in one shot.
How many teams have the prospects and the need for a player of Gonzalez’s caliber? The Yankees would probably sacrifice a chunk of their minor league system for Gonzalez, as would the Mets, Red Sox, Orioles and Rays just to name a few. The Padres minor league system doesn’t have much in the cabinet, but there are some prospects like Kyle Blanks and Peter Ciofrone whose minor league numbers (for what they’re worth) indicate that they could play the position adequately enough to justify moving Gonzalez if enough of a haul (two blue chip pitchers and a minor league power bat would be a good start) were coming back.
Gonzalez is on an island in that Padres lineup and his numbers to this point (26 homers, 76 RBI, 57 runs—-he’s driven himself in with homers in slightly less than half of those runs scored—-and 40 walks) are stunning considering that there’s no earthly reason to pitch to him considering the chaff that surrounds him; he’s also putting up such numbers while playing his home games in the baseball equivalent of the Grand Canyon. Imagine what he’d do at Yankee Stadium with the short right field porch to shoot at.
His contract is also ridiculously cheap. In 2007, Gonzalez signed a four-year, $9.5 million extension through 2010 with a club option for 2011. He’s a player for whom any demands the Padres make wouldn’t be out of line and he’d surely be more valuable than Matt Holliday since one question with Holliday is how far his numbers would decline when taken out of Colorado; such a question would be the opposite with Gonzalez. It’s something to think about and might be better considered after the season, but given the state of the Padres organization, their cheapness and all their glaring needs, they can fill numerous holes and replenish their organization in one shot if they take their biggest asset and make him available because with everything Gonzalez adds and all of his positives, it would definitely be a feeding frenzy.