Gonzalez' status in San Diego was thrown into question early in spring training when his agent made it clear there would be no more team-friendly deals and that Gonzalez would be seeking a contract in the Mark Teixeira range (8 years, 180 million) when he reached free agency. That demand, far too rich for the Padres' blood, sparked immediate speculation that Gonzalez would be available at the trade deadline . . . and, once again, the Red Sox lined up to make their bid. In fact, it was thought the one-year deal they signed with Adrian Beltre was to use him as a place-holder for Gonzalez; if they acquired Gonzo, they would dump Beltre and move Kevin Youkilis to third.
But San Diego had just hired ex-Red Sox executive Jed Hoyer as GM and Hoyer was sensitive to the perception that he was out to help his old team, making a deal with Boston less likely. Then the Padres surprised the baseball world by jumping out to, and holding, the N.L. West lead for a good portion of the year, making it impossible for them to trade Gonzalez. When Gonzo underwent shoulder surgery at the end of the season, with rumors spreading that he wouldn't be ready for the start of spring training, it seemed a potential trade would be put off until at least the 2011 trade deadline.
In the last few weeks, however, the Padres changed their minds.
HOME RUNS: 31
ON-BASE PERCENTAGE: .393
OPS : 152
SALARY: 4.875 million
Stats courtesy baseball-reference.com.Photos courtesy of AP Images.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ, YEAR-BY-YEAR
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.