Gonzalez and Red Sox delighted to be together

191542.jpg

Gonzalez and Red Sox delighted to be together

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

You know the phrase "perfect fit"?

That phrase may have been invented for Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox.

Gonzalez? He wanted to be in Boston.

"Growing up in San Diego, my first dream was to play in the major leagues and be a Padre," Gonzalez said Monday morning. "My second dream was to be a Red Sox. It was one of those things where you always root for a National League team and an American League team, and the Red Sox have always been the American League team I rooted for. All-time Red Sox great Ted Williams was from San Diego, so there's always been a lot of connections for me and the Red Sox."

The Red Sox? They wanted him in Boston.

"We've been on Adrian for a long time, starting with his days in the Texas organization from 2002-05," said general manager Theo Epstein.

So the trade -- from San Diego, which couldn't afford his upcoming megacontract, to Boston, which can -- seemed all but inevitable.

"Both sides knew from the very beginning that they wanted Adrian in this uniform for the rest of his career," said owner John Henry.

And, this weekend, it came to pass, as the Red Sox sent four minor-leaguers -- pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later -- to the Padres for Gonzalez. The official announcement was made Monday, and Gonzalez was introduced to the media immediately afterwards.

"I'm extraordinarily pleased," said Henry.

No contract extension has been agreed upon yet, and that caused quite a bit of angst in Red Sox Nation Sunday after the 2 p.m. deadline that Major League Baseball granted the two sides to reach agreement on a new deal. Rumors spread that the trade was off.

But just as anger and virtriol began to erupt, news was leaked Sunday night that the trade would be made without the extension. On Monday, Epstein explained why.

"I think we learned a lot about each other's positions," said Epstein about the negotiations with Gonzalez, his wife Betsy and his representatives, John Boggs and Tony Cabral. "A lot of good faith developed over the course of the negotiations, and both sides have an understanding what it will take to reach an agreement when the time is right.

"We got close, time lapsed, but we decided to go forward with the trade anyway . . . There wasn't a single person in the room who didn't think we won't get a deal done when the time is right."

The time will probably be right after Opening Day 2011, when Gonzalez' new salary won't count against the Red Sox' '11 payroll for luxury-tax purposes. As it is, he is under contract for a modest 5.5 million. It's likely the new deal will be for six or seven years with an AAV (average annual value) of over 20 million.

But no one was talking money on Monday. Instead, it was a love-fest of the highest order.

"Adrian is one of the very best hitters in the game," said Epstein. "A left-handed hitter with tremendous ability to control the strike zone, hit, hit for power . . . He hits the ball hard and with loft and he should be able to wear the left-field wall out. He's a thinking-man's hitter who controls the at-bat and knows what he wants to do up there."

And that's not all.

"He's a playmaker on defense," continued Epstein. "He has outstanding makeup. He's an outstanding person who leads vocally and leads by example and wants to win."

For Gonzalez' part, the feeling is mutual.

"You want to be in the best situation possible when you're in your prime, and this is the best place, the best situation," he said.

"Ex-Red Sox outfielder and current Padres coach Dave Roberts is one of my dear friends and told me nothing but incredible things about Boston," he said later. "I've gotten to know a lot about the city from his perspective . . . Ex-Sox and Padres catcher Josh Bard, he was only here for a little while, but he had nothing but great things to say about Boston. So I know it's the best place to be."

"He's had his eye on wanting to be part of what we have going on here for a long time," said Epstein.

Epstein said the Red Sox nearly acquired Gonzalez at the trade deadline in 2009, and also had talks with San Diego last July. Both deals fell through, and he seemed resigned to the notion that Gonzalez might not get to Boston until he hit free agency after the '11 season.

But then . . .

"Jed Hoyer, the Padres' general manager, who formally worked in the Red Sox' Baseball Operations department made some public comments that it was unlikely Adrian would stay in San Diego long-term. So we took that as an indicator they might be interested in talking trade.

"We worked on the prospect package with the Padres over the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, things started to heat up. And by the middle of the week, we had a deal."

And now the Red Sox have the middle-of-the-order hitter they'd been seeking, and the one they'd missed out on when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. Henry continues to insist that wasn't a blunder on the Red Sox' part -- "At his press conference when he signed with the Yankees, Teixeria said he was going to New York all along" -- but no matter.

"It's such a good fit," said Epstein. "Adrian wants to be a Red Sox, we want him to be a Red Sox for a long time, and we have every confidence a contract will be able to be worked out."

"I'm excited to be in Boston," said Gonzalez, "and ready to beat the Yanks."

Perfect fit, indeed.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com

After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status

red_sox_john_farrell_062716.jpg

After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status

BOSTON - With the Red Sox reeling coming off a month in which they went 10-16 and dropped a handful of games in the standings, speculation has recently focused on John Farrell's job security.

Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations, told reporters Thursday that Farrell's job status was not a focus and that the entire organization had to perform better. Dombrowski added that it's seldom that one person is responsible for a downturn in play.

"We've come off a tough month and finished a disappointing trip through Texas and Tampa,'' acknowledged Farrell when asked about the chatter regarding his job status. "I can understand the question and the potential speculation that's out there. But our expectation is to win and that doesn't change. The focus daily is that, is to go out and put together an effort to win.      

"My communication with Dave is very consistent. I think he's confident in my focus  and that's to win each and every day. That's where we stand. We're looking forward to  the opportunity to start this final homestand before the [All Star] break, so that gets underway tonight.''

Farrell was also asked about the dichotmy that existed between his own evaluation of David Price's outing Wednesday and Price's own estimation. 

Farrell said post-game that he believed Price "probably had his best stuff of the season, in terms of velocity and in terms of the shape of his secondary pitches.''

Price, who was in full self-flagellation mode, offered a slightly contradictory assessment.

"Changeup, that's probably the worst changeup I've had in a month,'' he said. "Curveball was awful. Can't get my cutter or my slider where I want to. I'm just bad right now.''

Farrell was questioned Friday about the seemingly contradictory analysis.

"The commentary was, here was a guy coming off an outing where he had best velocity he's shown all year -- up to 97 mph,'' said Farrell, "strikes out 10 over six-plus innings. He made some mistakes in the middle of the middle of the plate. But in terms of just raw stuff, I thought he showed a curveball that had much more consistent depth to it than in more recent starts.

So in terms of raw stuff, I thought it was one of his better outings of the year. The execution?

No, that wasn't as good as the game against San Francisco or the game against Seattle.

"Whether that's a differing opinion from someone else? That was just my view of the raw stuff.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

O’Sullivan will return to make start for Red Sox on Sunday

usatsi_9289224.jpg

O’Sullivan will return to make start for Red Sox on Sunday

BOSTON - Sean O'Sullivan -- and not Aaron Wilkerson -- is the Red Sox choice for Sunday's plug-in starter as the Sox search for a temporary replacement for Eduardo Rodriguez's spot in their starting rotation.
      
"That was the recommendation,'' said John Farrell of the choice to go with  O'Sullivan. "Granted, Wilkerson's been throwing the ball well there. But the recommendation was for Sean to come back here and pitch on Sunday.''
      
O'Sullivan made two starts earlier this season, allowing four runs in six innings to the New York Yankees on May 10 before being battered for six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings against Houston five days later.
      
Overall, O'Sullivan is 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts for the Pawsox this season.
      
Wilkerson, who was pitching in independent ball just two years ago, is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in eight appearances -- seven starts -- at Pawtucket.
      
O'Sullivan's stay with the Red Sox is expcted to be brief, since the Red Sox can through next week and first 10 days of the second half without a fifth starter.
      
"It's likely that spot will come up just once,'' confirmed Farrell. "With next Thursday's off-day, we've got a chance to make sure that [Rick] Porcello and [David] Price get on the mound before the break and that's the direction we're leaining in right now.''

Holt 'definitely happy' to be back with Red Sox

red_sox_brock_holt_2_061615.jpg

Holt 'definitely happy' to be back with Red Sox

BOSTON -- After an absence of more than a month, Brock Holt was back in the Red Sox lineup Friday night, playing left field and batting sixth. Holt had been sidelined with a concussion he suffered in early May in a game against Oakland.

"It's good to see Brock back in the lineup,'' said John Farrell. "It will certainly allow for not only a left-handed bat in left field but also the ability to somewhat deepen our bench.''

"I feel good,' said Holt. "I've been working to get back here. Obviously, it took a lot longer than I had hoped, but I'm definitely happy to be back.''

This was the second concussion suffered by Holt, who also incurred one in September 2014. Holt was originally placed on the seven-day concussion DL on May 20 before later being transferred to the 15-day DL.

While on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket, Holt was still experiencing some slight post-concussion symptoms, but he and the club believe he's ready to return.

"There's still a little bit more to improve on,'' said Holt. "But I'm definitely feeling a lot better. In my rehab games down there, I was able to put together good at-bats and hit some balls hard, so that definitely gave me some confidence to take the next step.''

Holt said he occasionally feels "a little light-headedness. Sometimes it comes and goes; sometimes I don't feel it all. It's definitely a lot better than where it was and I feel confident in taking the next step and to come up here and contribute.''

Holt has been told the remaining symptoms will eventually dissipate.

"Then I'll be normal,'' he said. "It's just part of the process. Getting into rehab games was a big step. Now, getting back here is the next step. As long as I just keep doing what I'm doing, it should be normal.''

It's uncertain how regularly Holt can play, but the Red Sox will ease him back into an everyday routine.

"He'll be checked on daily,'' said Farrell, "The progression that he's come through, we know there's going to be diminshing symptoms as we go along. The plan right now is for him to play tonight and Sunday against two right-handers. Beyond that, we'll continue to monitor his availability and check on him every day.''