It may be the greatest love story of all time – if you’re a Chicago Cubs fan. San Diego Padres first baseman, and all-around stud, Adrian Gonzalez loves Chicago, loves Wrigley Field, and likes the idea of becoming a Chicago Cub.
But. There’s always a but. Gonzalez is not a free agent until after 2011.
”There’s definitely a lot of positives about Chicago that if they made an offer, I would be interested in it,” said Gonzalez, 28, whose ability to hit for power to all fields is one reason he has a career .693 slugging percentage at Wrigley Field (85 plate appearances).
”Chicago’s a great town, and they have great fans, and I like the fact that it’s a small ballpark. I know the wind can play against you, but it can play for you, too. There’s definitely some positives. And my wife loves Chicago, for the shopping.”
Gonzalez, who said he was told before last season that the Cubs and Padres were discussing a trade to send him to Chicago, likes the idea of a reunion with his original big-league hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo — who had done his own behind-the-scenes recruiting of his former star student. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
There are so many revelations there that I can hardly parse them all. First and foremost, the Cubs – or at least Rudy Jaramillo – are already recruiting Gonzalez? Leaving aside the possible tampering allegations, it seems odd to recruit a guy who’s under contract for another year. Not that I’m complaining.
Does this mean that the Cubs will be looking for a stop-gap first base in 2011? Perhaps, but pinning their hopes to Gonzalez for 2012 could be a risky strategy if another team – for example, the Red Sox – swoops in and outbids the Cubs. Would you rather have Adam Dunn for the next few years or Adrian Gonzalez? The obvious answer is Gonzalez; but the uncertainty of Gonzalez certainly makes the question closer.
Also, what are the chances the Padres will consider moving Gonzalez as they did before this season (another revelation: the Cubs and Padres discussed a Gonzalez trade?! was Derrek Lee willing to go to San Diego? what did the Cubs offer? is my brain going to pop? zoinks!), and the season before? Given the team’s successful 2010 campaign, it’s hard to imagine them moving Gonzalez ($5.5 million salary in 2011) until mid-season at the earliest, and only then if the Padres are long out of it. And the price? It’s likely to be quite steep – though I imagine that we’d gladly say goodbye to some of our favorite prospects (many of whom are blocked by overpriced, long-term-signed vets anyway, right?).
Long story short – OMG Adrian Gonzalez Watch is probably a future reality.