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

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

John Tomase, Chris Gasper and Gary Tanguay discuss is the Boston Red Sox recent slump is more than just a slump and also when John Farrell needs to start worrying about his job security again.

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

ST. PETERSBURG, FLa. -- Not long ago, the Red Sox were repeatedly taking first-inning leads, often with multi-run innings.

These days, of course, it's the other way round. The Red Sox haven't scored a first-inning run since June 11, while the opposition is piling up the runs, with 22 scored in the last 15 games prior to Tuesday.

"Two weeks ago,'' said John Farrell, "we were talking about how much pressure it takes off (our) pitcher when you go out and score (in the first). We're living the other side of both of those right now.''

The Red Sox recognize the problem, but fixing isn't easy, namely because the issue is not the same for every starter.

The Sox are satisfied with their approach. What they have to change are the results.

"To go out and command the baseball from the start,'' said Farrell, "that's what we're all working toward getting better at. It's pretty clear where we need to improve.''

"Obviously, it makes it difficult for the offense,'' said pitching coach Carl Willis of the recent habit of falling behind. "to start off in a hole. It kind of sucks some energy out of the dugout when you're playing catch-up right away. (The pitchers) are aware of it. We're looking at everyone's routine. A couple of guys have really good, consistent routines.''

Willis said the Red Sox have examined everything, from pre-game routines and timing for warm-ups. So far, they haven't been able to discover any common factors.

"We've got to come out and throw better in that first inning,'' said David Price, who will start the series finale against his former team Wednesday afternoon. "It's setting the tone early. It's going out there and putting up a quick zero and giving all your defenders and your offense (the message), 'Alright, we've got it today. We don't have to go out and put up a 10-spot.'

"If we can go out there and put up early zeros, it takes a lot of the pressure off that offense.''

For now, it's something the Sox are focused on repairing.

"Baseball's a crazy game,'' said Willis. "Sometimes you go through periods and it just happens. That's not a good answer and that's not an excuse. We have to be better and they know that.''

 

Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

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Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis didn't say that Eduardo Rodriguez was tipping his pitches again Monday.

Then again, he didn't have to.

The results -- nine runs on 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays -- offered a hint. And, just for good measure, Willis all but said so Tuesday afternoon.

"It really goes back to consistency in (his) delivery,'' said Willis, "because with the inconsistencies -- I know it's no secret -- hitters know what's coming. He's worked on it extensively in bullpen sessions, dry work periods. He makes progress, shows the abilities to make those adjustments. However, when the game begins and his focus gears more toward attacking the hitter, the old habits resurface.

"It's not from lack of effort on his part. It's just a bit much to accomplish at the major league level, where hitters can look for inconsistencies and make adjustments more so that in the minors.''

Rodriguez knows what has to be done. But as recent history suggests, it's not an easy fix.

"It takes a lot of work. It does,'' said Willis. "Obviously, he's gone back to his old delivery that he's more accustomed to and comfortable with. I think there's a possibility that we're going to have to make an adjustment with his hands -- where he sets them and keeps them throughout his delivery, maybe eliminate some movement. And that's going to be something that would definitely be difficult to take place here.

"It's not easy, but certainly not impossible. He's a good athlete. He's an intelligent kid. He's aware. But it's the ability to maintain to make it a new habit so he doesn't have to think about it.''

How long Rodriguez takes to correct the flaws is unknown, making it difficult to estimate when he might return to the Red Sox rotation.

"I don't have an exact answer for that,'' said John Farrell. "That's going to be a start-by-start situation and (depends on) how he solidifies the adjustments that are requires. I don't have a timetable for how long it's going to be. . . But to suggest that this is going to be a one-start situation (at Pawtucket) would be a little aggressive.''