Agent: Gonzalez deal likely only weeks away

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Agent: Gonzalez deal likely only weeks away

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Almost four months after obtaining him in a deal, the Red Sox still don't have a contract extension done with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. But his agent, in town to meet with Red Sox management Tuesday, said a new deal is likely only weeks away.

Negotiations broke down in the 48-hour window the sides had in the first week of December, but there was an understanding even then that Gonzalez was seeking a seven-year, 154 million deal.

That, of course, would represent the second-biggest deal ever given by the Red Sox and the biggest ever given by the current ownership group.

John Boggs, who represents Gonzalez, met with general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherrington and came away with the meeting filled with optimism.

"It was a very positive meeting,'' said Boggs. "At the end of the day, everything has been as expected. I just think it's going to move very positively in the direction of probably trying to get something done sometime in April.''

As has been widely reported, there's an accounting and payroll benefit for the Red Sox to announce a new extension after April 1, Opening Day.

If the Sox make a deal official before then, the average annual value of the entire deal would be applied toward their payroll for 2011. If it's completed after April 1, the Sox get to use Gonzalez's budget-friendly 2011 salary of 6.25 million.

Nonetheless, Boggs and the Red Sox continue to maintain that the lone holdup is the slugger's health. He underwent surgery last October to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and, because of that, didn't appear in a Grapefruit League game until March 12, two weeks after exhibition games began.

"The main thing,'' said Boggs, "is the health issue. When he's seen to be every day, playing competitively in a regular season, I think the Red Sox are going to have a degree of comfort and obviously, that will be a time to probably get something done.

"Prudently, probably, on their part, they just want to see him play back-to-back-to-back-to-back, get into the season and say, 'OK, we're good to go.' ''

Asked for a specific timetable, Boggs said: "I would anticipate something around April. When in April, I don't know. It could be the beginning, middle, end -- but that's it. That's really the parameters we're looking it. If something drags it on past that, then, yeah, we'll probably have to revisit a lot of things. But I don't anticipate that at all.''

Boggs emphasized that no new ground was broken during Tuesday's meeting and that it was merely a continuation of where they left off in December and hinted that there's a degree of inevitability to an extension.

"I would be very surprised if a deal didn't get done,'' he said. "You can always be surprised in life, but I would be very surprised. There were very positive feelings on both sides. There's a lot of relationships in the past. I've deal with Theo a lot. I've dealt with Larry Lucchino a lot. John Henry was the first owner Adrian played for with the Florida Marlins. There's so many relationships involved here that if you can't have an agreement, I probably can't have one with anyone.''

Beyond the general parameters in place, Boggs said there's other work to do before a deal is in place, covering performance bonuses, award incentives and other "nuanced" parts of the deal.

But he reiterated that Gonzalez isn't concerned that he signing months ahead of two other potential free agent first basemen -- Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

"Adrian made it perfectly clear in December where his bottom line was and if they were ready to accept his bottom line, he wasn't going to play those logistic options . . . Adrian knew what it was going to take, bottom line. He wasn't concerned with chasing after or breaking salary records. He just wants to be fairly compensated.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.