By Danny Picard
BOSTON It felt like groundhog day at Fenway Park on Friday. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein sat at the podium to the right of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, just as they had last December.
Only this time it wasn't to announce a trade, as they'd done five months ago when the Sox acquired Gonzalez from the Padres. It wasn't to announce they were confident they would eventually reach agreement on a new contract.
It was to announce Gonzalez had signed a seven-year contract extension, worth 154 million.
This is the culmination of a process that started several months ago, and were very pleased to get it done, said Epstein. More pleased to have Adrian as a Red Sox for now and for the long term. Even more pleased, now, than the day that we acquired him initially, having gotten to know him.
I hope this will go down, and I believe this will go down, as a great day for the organization. Adrians going to make a major impact here for a long time.
Gonzalez is hitting .268 with one home run and seven RBI in 11 games with Boston. Everybody involved was more than optimistic that the extension would get done. Now, he said, its time to focus strictly on winning, and thats why he decided to stay in Boston long term.
Im very grateful for this opportunity, like I said back in December, said Gonzalez. Im really excited about being able to play here for the next seven years, hopefully longer . . . Im really excited about being here, and winning some championships.
Im a person that really likes to just focus on winning, he added. When the focus isnt on the team, from my personal standpoint, thats not where I want to be. I want to be where, lets forget about everything else, and lets just focus on winning, and being part of the team.
This is something that takes all those questions out of the way. And lets focus on what we need to do on the field, to start winning.
That starts tonight, as Gonzalez is hitting third against left-hander Brett Cecil.
You never want to start the season by losing 10 of your first 12 games, which is their record after Friday night's defeat, but we have faith in ourselves. We know were a better team . . . And were going to turn this around.
The one good thing about starting poorly it means that were going to win a lot more games than were going to lose, going forward. I know, and Im fully confident, that come September, were going to be in the middle of a pennant race, and in a position that were going to make the playoffs.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.