Red Sox sign Adrian Gonzalez

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Red Sox sign Adrian Gonzalez

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- What had been rumored for months was made official Friday -- the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have agreed to a seven-year, 154 million contract extension.

The team held a 3 p.m. news conference to announce the signing.

Gonzalez, obtained from the San Diego Padres last December in exchange for four players, will sign the richest deal in total dollars ever given by Boston's current ownership. Manny Ramirez, who once landed an eight-year, 160 million deal with the Red Sox, was signed by the club's previous owners.

The contract is the second megadeal for the Red Sox in the last five months. At the winter meetings last December, a week after trading for Gonzalez, the Sox signed free-agent outfielder Carl Crawford to a seven-year, 142 million deal.

Earlier this week, the club also announced an four-year extension -- with two option years -- for pitcher Clay Buchholz, worth 30 million.

In the days following last December's trade, the Red Sox and agent John Boggs worked toward finalizing an extension for Gonzalez, who was under contract for one more season (2011) at a salary of 6.5 million.

When the trade was agreed upon, the sides were given a 48-hour window by Major League Baseball to come to terms on a new contract. That deadline passed, and the assumption was the deal would be scuttled. But they agreed to continue talks in the spring, and the Red Sox went ahead with the trade.

Boggs visited Fort Myers in late March to resume talks. The remaining issues, including finalizing contract language and some performance bonuses, were completed this week, sources said.

While he was in Fort Myers, Boggs said he would be surprised if a deal didn't get done sometime during the first month of the season.

The deal includes a signing bonus.

For the Red Sox, there was incentive to delay the signing until after the start of the season. By doing so, they can use Gonzalez's 6.5 million salary toward the luxury tax computation for this year. Had the extension been agreed upon before Opening Day, the average annual value of the entite deal -- about 20 million for 2011 -- would have applied.

The delay also bought some time for the Red Sox to evaluate the condition of Gonzalez's right shoulder, which was surgically repaired last October, about six weeks before the trade took place.

Gonzalez, who will turn 29 next month, reported to spring training on time, but didn't appear in a Grapefruit League game until March 12. The Sox then had the better part of a month to determine that Gonzalez was fully healthy and not limited by his shoulder.

The first baseman has started all 11 games thus far this season and is hitting .268 with a home run and seven RBI.

The average annual value of the extension, 22 million, is the eighth-highest for active players in the game. The 154 million, meanwhile, is the ninth-biggest contract in the history of the game.

Gonzalez had been a target of the Red Sox for some time, especially after the team failed in its pursuit of free agent Mark Teixeira after the 2008 season. The Padres, knowing they couldn't afford to sign Gonzalez to an extension and were likely to lose him to free agency when his current contract expired, began shopping him in earnest last winter.

San Diego GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod, eminently familiar with the Red Sox farm system from their time working under Theo Epstein, quickly zeroed in on Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as the centerpieces to the deal.

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

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.

Consider:

THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.