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

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

Dombrowski knows ‘winning the winter’ isn’t the ultimate goal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md -- In the span on less than 12 hours earlier this week, the Red Sox injected some impact players onto their roster, moves that cost them a large chunk of their farm system but made them the prohibitive favorites in the American League.
    
By adding All-Star starter Chris Sale, power set-up man Tyler Thornburg and first baseman Mitch Moreland (though the Sox have not confirmed the latter yet), the team was remade and became the talk of the Winter Meetings.
     
But Dave Dombrowski knows that "winning the winter'' can be a hollow achievement. It's what happens when the games start that will truly matter.
     
"We feel good,'' said Dombrowski as he got ready to depart. "We feel like we have a better ballclub. We feel like we've helped ourselves. Our guys have done a good job here all week long. So, we feel good about it.
     
"In the winter time, winning doesn't really mean anything. We've had that situation before. It really comes down to how well you play. That's why when people ask me to made predictions, I never make them. I think we have a club that can compete. I like our ballclub. But you really have to go about it on a day-in, day-out basis and take care of your business and I think our club will do that.''
     
The Red Sox, of course, won the A.L. East, but were summarily dismissed in the Division Series by the Cleveland Indians, who swept them in three straight.
     
The Sox were the best offensive club in the majors, but the retirement of David Ortiz takes a huge weapon out of their lineup. It's doubtful they'll score as many runs as they did a year ago.
     
Correspondingly, the Sox vastly improved their rotation with Sale, giving them three front-line starters and, in theory, a chance to go further into the postseason in 2017.
     
So deep are the Sox, in fact, that they now have seven established starters, a surplus that has them positioned to move one arm.
    
It may take some time for the market to develop, as clubs explore what's available from other teams and in free agency.
     
"I don't know what that will be,'' Dombrowski said. "We'll just kind of wait and see what takes place. I think a lot is dependent on other things that need to shake out. So our depth in starting pitching is somewhat new to people. They need time to analyze that. I had a couple clubs approach me about that [inside the Rule 5 draft] this morning. Again, we're not jumping. We'll just wait and see what happens.''
     
Dombrowski could choose to move either Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz, though it would seem dumping Buchholz's $13.5 million contract would be his preference.
     
That would enable Dombrowski to get closer to the $195 million luxury tax threshold, which he has said is a preference not a mandate.
     
"I have a preference [in choosing which starter to move],’’ he said with a smile. "I won't share that with you, but I have a preference.''

 

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- On Wednesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski was asked what else he might be searching for to complete his roster.
     
Dombrowski, noting that Travis Shaw had been dealt away in the trade that brought the Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, said the Red Sox could use another utility infielder to compete with left-handed-hitting Marco Hernandez.
     
On Thursday morning, Dombrowski found a familiar body in the unlikeliest of places.
     
The Sox selected Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. Rutledge, who was once obtained in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino, spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a slash line of .276/.338/.358 with a homer and 13 RBI in 67 games.
     
He missed most of last season with a knee injury and was outrighted by the Sox last month, becoming a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, but was unprotected by the Rockies and made available in Thursday's draft.
     
"We always liked him,'' said Dombrowski. "He thought his opportunity to play at the big league level was better [in Colorado]. But it was a situation for us, we looked at our club and we thought we might need a right-handed [hitting] utility infielder. We looked over the list and we like what he can do for our ballclub. So he was on obvious choice for us.''
     
Rutledge will compete against Marco Hernandez to become another bench player to team with Brock Holt on the Red Sox  roster.
     
Deven Marrero is also a righthand-hitting infielder, but his strength is defense and he's yet to prove he can hit major league pitching.
     
"I'd rather have someone [competing] who can swing the bat a little bit more,'' said Dombrowski. "I think [Rutledge] lines up to be on our club. We'll see what happens in spring training, but we know him, we like him. There looks like there's a path for him.''
     
Drafting Rutledge cost the Red Sox just $50,000 and he must  remain on the team's 25-man roster all season or, be offered back to the Rockies and placed on waivers.
     
The Sox also lost two players in the Rule 5 major league draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, while the Baltimore Orioles chose outfielder Aneury Tavarez.