Padres Ink Gonzalez to Long-Term Deal

San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian GonzalezAs noted in the comments yesterday, the Padres have locked up first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a 4-year deal worth $9.5 million with an option for 2011 that could kick the total value up to $15 million. Among other things, this means we can quit wringing our hands over a perceived lack of respect by the Pads when they renewed Gonzalez’ contract, as teams will do with players under club control.

I find this quote from Gonzalez’ agent, John Boggs, fascinating:

It was after the renewal that Kevin Towers asked if we were interested in a multiyear deal. If we could get something done for fair market value, we were interested.

Neither side got exactly what it wanted, but it’s a good deal for both sides.

First, it sound like Towers came to the player, which is great. Second, I like the acknowledgment that both sides had to give a little to get something mutually beneficial done.

Anyway, this is fantastic news for Gonzalez, the Padres, and fans. Gonzalez blossomed in his first full big-league season and is a guy around whom the Padres can build.

Last April we compared Gonzalez to Arizona’s Chad Tracy. This year, with a little more data to work with, Gonzalez’ list of 10 most similar players at Baseball-Reference contains some intriguing names.

The most obvious of these is Wally Joyner because he was a slick-fielding first baseman. But Joyner didn’t have quite as many at-bats through age 24; he also had more power and better plate discipline.

The guy I like on this list is Milwaukee’s Geoff Jenkins. Here’s how Gonzalez and Jenkins stack up at the same age:

Adrian Gonzalez vs Geoff Jenkins, through Age 24
Gonzalez 836 .285 .340 .475 112 .410 .190 .373 24.58
Jenkins 775 .282 .341 .498 114 .372 .216 .445 23.63
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Baseball Musings Day by Day Database.

With the seemingly obvious disclaimer that no two players are the same, Gonzalez and Jenkins look like a pretty decent match. Jenkins had a little more power, Gonzalez controls the strike zone a little better.

Jenkins, FWIW, enjoyed a pretty nice run throughout his age 25-29 seasons, batting .282/.352/.524 over that stretch. He maintained his batting average while improving his OBP and SLG. If Gonzalez progresses in a similar manner, I imagine most of us will be happy.

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31 Responses »

  1. Wow, the picture of Luis Gonzalez at Yahoo today … … makes me feel old … wait, I *am* old … turns out Luis is too, I s’pose …

  2. Our own version of Chad Tracy/Geoff Jenkins with the bat?
    I take that. Except, Adrian Gonzalez is way better than them, at least Geoff Jenkins. His glove alone should put him over. And his baseball intelligence in fielding and in game awareness is great. The last play to end the regular season last year was a great example of the latter. With a runner at first base and two outs, he cut the errant throw from Barfield and threw to second for a forced out.

  3. RE: 3

    That was a great play that often goes overlooked because of the awareness he showed.

    Is it Tuesday yet?

  4. Why oh why is the opening game in the middle of the day? And not only the middle of the day, but the middle of the same day I start my new job where I’ll have to pretend like I’m focused on their boring print designs and not on exciting padres match up? (Both of those rhetorical questions)

    I’m still trying to decide if I can make it home, turn on, and watch the game all the way through without finding out/peeking at the score.

  5. re: 5 if its a good game you will but if the pads go up or down by 3 or 4 runs early you will give in to see if its worth watching.

  6. I wonder if the pads will give cruz the start in left due to zito pitching?

  7. vs lefties

    Cruz – .885 OPS
    Sledge – .642 OPS

  8. #7, today’s UT says Cruz will get the start in left against Zito.

  9. On days the Padres don’t play, it’s even nicer when the Dogs get whup’d …

  10. LynchMob, I JUST came here to post that! :)

  11. 11 – great Padre fans think alike!

  12. Wow, a Bip Roberts sighting … here’s a comment from a BP article about Opening Day Roster surprises …

    Jason Wood (INF, Fla) was an 11th-round pick out of Fresno State… in 1991. He was once traded for Bip Roberts. In his first four full seasons, he had a sub-.300 on-base percentage in three of them. Wood has gotten Triple-A at-bats in every season since 1995. His 12 big league games last year were his first since 1999. He has 1,747 career minor league hits in 1,785 games. And, at 37, he’s on an Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. I don’t really care how good he is going to be, I’m just glad he’s here.

    … holy cow … what a rookie!

  13. One comment that struck me in Adrians interview,yesterday ….when asked about the Padre infield, he volunteered “and of course Greeny covers eveything form third to second base”. Adrian doesnt strike me as overzealous or prone to excessive hyperbole, so this seems credible despite KG’s chance/ innings played ratio.

  14. Given Adrian’s season last year, I can see how it makes economic sense to buy out his arbitration years to keep him in San Diego for several years at likely less than market value than if he went to arbitration every year.

    If it makes sense for AGon, why wouldn’t the same argument hold true for Khalil? I know some of us have some trepidation about Khalil’s performance (some more than others), but we just gave him $2.25 to buy out one year of his arbitration. It would seem that given his performance when healthy, we would want to try to sign him through his arbitration years, giving him security through a multi-year deal while we saved some money. I recognize there’s a chance his doesn’t perform or gets injured, again, but the same thing holds true for AGon. Plus, Adrian didn’t get a no-trade clause, so why would Khalil?

    Can anyone explain the difference to me? Seems to me to make economic sense and take some of the economic risk out of it.

  15. I love Greene but three straight years of declining BA and SLG, and a .320 career OBP don’t usually warrant an extension. If he doesn’t turn it around this year I think he could be traded by the deadline.

  16. 16 — I understand the lack of performance, but he just made $1.25 million more than AGon for this next year. It seems that by getting him year-to-year, it’s costing us more money. Can’t you factor that decreasing performance into negotiations for a lesser salary structure than Gonzalez, buying out the risk of arbitration (which we did for this year for $2.25 million) in exchange for his lowering his salary. I’m just trying to figure the economic reason for not doing it, not necessarily the performance reason, although the two are clearly related.

  17. My favorite projection is just out. Diamond Mind (a great and accurate game) has come out with a forecast based on 200 runs of its 2007 projection season.

    Good news for the Padres, they make the post season 71% of the time, more tahn any other NL team is projected to do.

    If only reality were so kind.

  18. LaMar, it’s ALL about production… If Greene doesn’t start increasing production, there is no reason to buy those years; we’ll need to replace him. You DO want to buy out arbitration, but not on a guy who isn’t producing.

  19. 17: I don’t think Sandy Alderson is sold on Khalil and only keeps him around for lack of a better alternative. Paying more year-to-year is only a bad thing if you do it over several years. It’s usually worth paying a little more to maintain flexibility.

    18: The 2006 projections had the Padres at 77-85, in the playoffs 7% of the time. I think it’s correct in that we have a much stronger team this year but the division keeps getting stronger too.

  20. About Khalil, I’m not sure what the words around the leagues are about him.
    If his long-term contract would give the Padres the flexibility that they need while he’s producing, I think he may have gotten that multi-year contract already.

    I think if Khalil stays healthy and produces this year, the Padres will extend him a contract offer. After all, it’s not like Matt Bush is knocking at the door anytime soon. I hope Khalil is taking his calcium tablets everyday.

  21. Oh, just want to note that Gil Gamesh won his first game.

  22. Pitching duel between Oakland and Seattle. Ah, the baseball god is generous today.

  23. That Diamond Mind projection system is interesting. I buy it. I’ve been saying for awhile that the Padres are an 88-90 win team this year.

  24. I was pulling for Colorado to beat Arizona, but alas. Hey, I will be at the SD-SF game tomorrow, probably one of four people pulling for SD. How about a NOG lead-off jack?

  25. Have fun, Jay.
    I can’t wait for opening game. Should be fun. I wish I were off tomorrow.
    If anybody is going to do it, it’ll have to be a RH batter vs. Zito tomorrow. NOG to lead off HR? Fine by me.
    How about Adrian Gonzalez HR as an opener thanks for his contract?

  26. Fair market value? 15 million over five years. PECOTA which is actually kinda down on him thinks he’ll be worth 60 million over that time span. Hell, w/o the option, he should be worth more than the 9.5 million this year. This is a fantastic deal.

  27. X with an HR today … … good to see him on a team that he can play and develop on … I’m still a fan …

  28. Hey, Jay, get us a win! It’s Tuesday here, so Let’s Go Padres!!!

  29. Zone Rating

    The stats seem to agree with the assertion that Khalil Greene is basically average defensively.

    And since it has been brought up around here several times, I’ll also mention that they agree with the assertion that Derek Jeter is well below average defensively.

  30. I’m so excited I can’t sleep!!!!