Braves should pursue a trade for Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs last season for San Diego.

Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs last season for San Diego.

The last time the Braves made one of those, “The future is now,” trades, John Schuerholz sent a bundle of prospects to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira.

Didn’t work out. Teixeira wasn’t the missing piece for a World Series team. He wasn’t even the missing piece for a second-place team.

Here’s another chance to get it right. I don’t know if the Braves are one player away from playing for a championship. But Adrian Gonzalez gets them closer than any other player they could acquire. Economics may force the San Diego Padres to trade the All-Star first baseman.

There is no downside to getting Gonzalez, other than whatever/whoever it is the Braves would have to send San Diego in a trade. But here’s the upside:

♦ He gives the Braves the power hitter and run producer their lineup desperately needs. His home run totals have consistently increased — from 24 to 30 to 36 to 40. Last year, he also drew 119 walks. With a.277 batting average, that gave him a .407 on-base percentage, which would’ve ranked first among Braves’ regulars.

♦ Gonzalez has a favorable contract: $4.75 million and $5.5 million in the next two seasons. Then he becomes a free agent. It’s the same situation the Braves faced with Teixeira (they traded him before the deadline in year two when they dropped out of the playoff race).

♦ Gonzalez is a better option than re-signing Adam LaRoche, who may require a three-year contract and isn’t nearly as good of a player. It creates a situation with prospect first basemen Freddie Freeman, but the genuine concern over that probably is a year away — unless Freeman is included in the deal.

♦ Gonzalez gives the Braves a power hitter in his prime to go with all of their pitching. It lessens the offensive load on Chipper Jones, who is coming off a down season, and takes the pressure off Wren for acquiring a high-impact corner outfielder to strengthen the lineup.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported at least three teams — the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston and Seattle — expressed interest in Gonzalez at the deadline last July. The newspaper also quoted a source saying, “I think it’s only a matter of time until they trade Adrian,” and reported the player was “conspicuously absent” from a season-ticket brochure mailed to fans.

He would be a needed boost for ticket sales — and the lineup — in Atlanta.

286 comments Add your comment

bugman

November 11th, 2009
9:09 am

bugman

November 11th, 2009
9:11 am

” don’t know if the Braves are one player away from playing for a championship”

I think before they can be one player away, they are one coach away…

Bulldawg

November 11th, 2009
9:11 am

Jeff,

What do you think the Braves could/should offer for such a deal?

Jamaaliver

November 11th, 2009
9:14 am

No….emphatically. Free agency and the farm system should suffice in getting us where we want to be. A midseason trade might be in order, but only if we are able to get a beneficial trade at the deadline i.e. Mclouth.

MightyQuinn

November 11th, 2009
9:18 am

The Braves should offer Freeman in this deal ONLY if they are serious about signing Gonzales to a long term deal, and I imagine some other prospects would surely be included. The Tex deal wouldn’t have been a bust otherwise.

Toots

November 11th, 2009
9:19 am

But who are you suggesting they trade? Vazquez? If so, me no likey.

Dax

November 11th, 2009
9:20 am

The problem with the Tex trade was the quality of the players we sent to Texas for a 2 year rental. Gonzalez would require close to the same type of package, I’d imagine. Why would we want to make this mistake twice? I’m all for getting Gonzalez if we can do it without putting in 4 + prospects. I just don’t know that it’s possible.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:20 am

Bulldawg — Hard to answer because I don’t know what Padres want. But since payroll is an issue there I’m sure it would be prospects. I’d include Freeman but not Heyward.I’d also give them young pitching since team looks fairly set now for a few years.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:22 am

Jaamaliver — Not much in free agency this season, and getting players in trade also generally costs less from a payroll standpoint.

kate gosselin

November 11th, 2009
9:22 am

I’m still not speaking to you Jeff Schultz for being out until 1:36 a.m. with the Count. Probably celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Muppets.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:24 am

Toots — (see above) I’m with you on Vazquez. I’d rather do the deal without him. But I’m sure they don’t want Lowe or Kawakami.

EW

November 11th, 2009
9:25 am

JS..love the idea. Just not all that confident we will actually go after him. With Boston in the mix, he’ll probably choose to go to a guaranteed contender.

I like the idea some have mentioned on using the farm system. But when it comes to hitting, you’re better off taking someone who has proved he can hit at the big league level. We need offense NOW, can’t wait on the rookies to learn while our pitcher’s are doing their jobs. That’s what cost us last season. Javy and JJ should have been flirting with 20 wins each, especially JJ.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:25 am

Kate. Sorry, big mistake. I tried to hang with Oscar and he drank me under the table. Won’t you take me back?

Don

November 11th, 2009
9:25 am

More significantly than being a player away, the Braves are a MANAGER away from winning. As long as Bobby Cox is managing, any trades or free agent signings are pointless – we still will not win — Unless our Pitching should again be so great, so far, far superior to the other teams that it makes it almost imposible to lose the Division over the long 162 game regular season schedule – overcomming Cox’s management procedures and lack thereof. This is the way it has always been with Cox managing. The best example of his management skills is tha fact that in 14 opportuniies he won only one WS – even with the great pitching that we had – amazing.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:28 am

EW — Braves means he stays in N.L., I think they’re perceived as a contender at this point (even if not Boston) and I don’t think he requires approval for a trade anyway.

RHR

November 11th, 2009
9:30 am

Yes….emphatically. YES.

Don

November 11th, 2009
9:30 am

As always with Bobby Cox – To have a consistant offense, we must have hitters who (on their own) have the maturity to generate run production. Granted that Bobby Cox has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer — But it is still unbelievable that afer over 20 years as a manager, he still does not understand the absolute necessity to teach, emphasize, demand that hitters work the count, be selective, make the pitcher throw some pitches – if your are going to have consistant run production and good offense.

All I'm Saying Is...

November 11th, 2009
9:33 am

I like the way you are thinking on this one, Schultz, because, you are right, Adam has some serious deficiencies in his game compared to Gonzalez. Problem is I don’t think the Padres are stupid especially if other teams are sniffing around.

Given Gonzalez contract and proven production, they will likely want at least a potential starter or two and prospects knowing full well that his value should only escalate between now and the start of the season and/or the July 31, 2010 trade deadline.

Braves have to decide how committed they are to winning it all in 2010 and what they are willing to part with to potentially get there.

I agree that you only make this deal if you are going to sign Gonzalez to a longer term deal than the next two years.

Another thought if he’s not included in the deal is why can’t Freeman be moved to LF? Just because he’s played first to this point doesn’t preclude him from switching positions.

I’m just glad we don’t have Kotchman anymore at first grumbling in the clubhouse and hitting singles (with too many posters on this blog thinking that because he can field his position, then his lack of power is acceptable).

LET’S GO BRAVES!

rico43

November 11th, 2009
9:34 am

What concerns me about any deal with San Diego is that the club has a new g.m. who will probably feel like a Gonzalez deal will make his reputation. It might be Towers/Peavy all over again.

cattle dawg

November 11th, 2009
9:35 am

How old is this guy? Im a fan of laRoche. He has got a sweet swing. is there not a better deal out there

kate gosselin

November 11th, 2009
9:36 am

Oh, thats not what Miss Piggy said. I’m down for the Adrian Gonzales deal. When is the press conference?

EW

November 11th, 2009
9:36 am

Don- You’re not alone in your disdain for Bobby. But I’m not one of the ones with you. Throwing BC under the bus is a cop out. Of course his decisions are going to come under more scrutiny, he was in the playoffs 14 straight years! Every manager gets criticized more in the playoffs, that’s how it goes. But ultimately the players have to play. And in the Braves case I think we shot ourselves in the foot on offense much of that run. These guys are still major league hitters, and Bobby can’t swing the bat for them. Bobby is going to be a Hall of Fame manager and has earned the right to go out on his own terms. Your argument assumes we would have won 14 straight with ANY manager, and that just ain’t right.

Don

November 11th, 2009
9:37 am

What is so absurd about the Braves – is that they plan, worry, fret over possible trades, free agent signings, making the salary budget work, trying to make some improvement at different positions etc. — Yet completely ignore the biggest problem, the greatest weakness they have – the problem that is more significant than all their other problems combined. — They still keep Bobby Cox in spite of his obvious incompetency is so many ways.

Jeff Schultz

November 11th, 2009
9:37 am

All I’m Saying Is — If I’m the Padres, I’m probably asking for the world: Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward, etc. What the Braves would have to give up obviously depends on what San Diego is offered elsewhere.

Q

November 11th, 2009
9:37 am

I’ve been saying the Braves should trade for Gonzalez since the middle of this past season.My proposal has been send Medlen,Jo Jo reyes,Schafer, Kelly Johnson and maybe a couple of more prospects to the Padres for Adrian and Heath Bell. You get a 40 homer 100 RBI guy( even playing half his games in San Diego) and an allstar closer under contract for at least the next couple of years.If you can do it without adding Freeman to the deal then you give him a couple of years before you need him in Atlanta.Then you have a power hitter, a potential Gold Glove 1B,and a closer.And both cheaper than any good free eagent will cost.And the Braves would still have the money to upgrade the OF.

EW

November 11th, 2009
9:38 am

JS, I didn’t understand your reply…maybe I need more coffee.

T-Bone

November 11th, 2009
9:40 am

I think I had just as soon sign Rochy, and then find a power-hitting left fielder.

We really are only one piece–maybe two–from the post-season. Extrapolate our record from that point in June when FW’s trades turned us around and we probably end up with 90-100 wins. I think we can do this without decimating our farm, a la the Tex trade.

kate gosselin

November 11th, 2009
9:41 am

Please don’t include JJJ, Heyward, or Hanson. No way the Braves do that deal with those three guys.

MWC

November 11th, 2009
9:49 am

The Braves need to re-sign Adam and find a power OF, end of story…

J-man

November 11th, 2009
9:50 am

It’s not a terrible idea, but I’m personally not real fond of continuing to go down that old “rent a player for 2 years” model that got us Drew and Sheffield.

Scott

November 11th, 2009
9:50 am

i think we should swing a trade for A-rod. not saying who we should give up, or even speculate on what we may have to give up for him, but i’m just sayin’ we should do it, just as long as it doesnt involve any of our top prospects, like freddy freeman who may or may not be involved. MAKE IT HAPPEN FRANK WREN!

Smack

November 11th, 2009
9:51 am

Still would rather sign a 1-2 year stop gap and let Freeman take it from there. The cost for Adrian would be to great and I really don’t think we need to clear out the depth we have in our system. Hypothetically they would probably ask for Freddie, Medlen, Hicks and Teheran. Too much for one player when all 4 can contribute to whatever it is we are building towards.

Hawk n the Ham

November 11th, 2009
9:58 am

Too many left handed bats. The Braves will focus on a right handed power hitter this offseason. For what we would lose in a trade, I think keeping Rochy would be the best bet and going after that big bat in the outfield.

Braves Fan

November 11th, 2009
10:01 am

It is amazing to me that some people on this board feel like they have a better understanding of the basic concepts of baseball than Bobby Cox. Are you BC bashers trying to get a rise out of others or in your warped minds do really believe that he is the problem with the Braves? Do you think he just does not have an adequate understanding of baseball or that he does not have the ability to get the best out of his players?

roan st

November 11th, 2009
10:01 am

Hanson and Heyward are off limits. If not then wren and shuerholz need to be run out of town. I would absolutely not give up a bunch of young talent for this guy. Any player who bats .277 is not a star in my book. The Braves need to resign Laroche and go out and get another bat in free agency. Heyward will probably be here next june if not out of spring training and freeman could be ready by the start of 2011. Just be patient and don’t make the damn Teixeira mistake twice.

Tucker T

November 11th, 2009
10:01 am

Jeff, I’m kind of surprised you are advocating another trade where the Braves would be trading away their future. The cynic in me says you want this so you will have more columns to write about the awful trade just like you did for 126 columns you guys wrote about the Tex trade. I know you wouldn’t do that but it makes me wonder. Anyways, there is no way I would give up Freeman for a two year rental of this guy. You know that if he has similar years over the next two years he will be commanding a $15-20M contract, something the Braves can’t afford. They will have Freeman cheap for the next several years.

Rick in Jackson

November 11th, 2009
10:03 am

I think you are right on with this idea. It would surely solve a lot of problems with one move. What about offering the young 1B prospect (Freeman) to the Padres to replace AG and then throw in the confidential medical and scouting rports on 3 pitchers, Galvine, Smoltz and Hampton!!

Mark P.

November 11th, 2009
10:03 am

To those people who think that the Braves can get a top player by ridding themselves of garbage (K. Johnson, Reyes, etc.) the real world doesn’t work like that unless the GM has recently had a lobotomy. The Braves will have to give up real players to get this or any good 1B. If the Padres wanted castoffs like those mentioned, they would only have to go to the waiver list and claim them. The Padres need cheap young players. They can’t afford Lowe, K. Johnson, etc. or they would have kept Peavy. He had a very reasonable contract for his talent .

Yunel Asscobar

November 11th, 2009
10:04 am

Jeff – great idea. Are you open to becoming GM of the Bravos, or is this writing thing a full-time gig? Could this scenario work: D Lowe to closer; Kawakami to long relief/spot starter; and like Q said, offer Shafer, Minor, Johnson, Medlen, and JoJo for Gonzo? To sweeten the deal, we could even consider offering Greg Norton [ hard to imagine, I know], if the Pads play negotiating hardball.

Don

November 11th, 2009
10:05 am

Trading for Gonzalez or any other player we could trade for or any free agent we could sign would not help the team as much as getting rid of Bobby Cox — and this would not cost any players or prospects or any significant money.

Uncle Rico

November 11th, 2009
10:09 am

Jeff –

great idea…AG is someone we should have been pursuing all along. You neglected to mention his defense, which is as good as or better than Tex’s (and definitely better than LaRoche).

I’d trade Freeman, Schafer & another (lower level) prospect in a heartbeat for AG.
Gonzo is a proven & affordable commodity. The other guys are simply “potentials” at this point.

If this happens, the Braves are essentially set for 2010, except for some bullpen help & a more affordable option in the OF.

SadDawg

November 11th, 2009
10:09 am

Jeff, is San Diego a hitters park, cause “The Ted” sure ain’t, as Mclouth found out when he got here….

Branch Rickey

November 11th, 2009
10:10 am

Get Billy Butler from Kansas City. He’s only 23 and the stud firstbaseman that will give the Braves solid play for years to come. Gonzalez will come at way too high a price !

Andrew

November 11th, 2009
10:11 am

This Don is one angry Dude…Slow your roll man, your gonna have a heart attack before Bobby even retires!

P Rose

November 11th, 2009
10:11 am

I’d give them Vazquez and Freeman, but only if we could sign Gonzalez for a long-term contract. Vazquez is coming off his best season ever; chances are he won’t repeat it. Freeman might be good in the future, or he might not; but with Gonzalez we wouldn’t need him. It’s not going to happen, though. Remember when they were trying to trade Peavey? They wouldn’t budge unless we gave them Tommy Hanson. No way they let us have him without Heyward, Jurrjens or Hanson.

tr

November 11th, 2009
10:12 am

To the naysayers,

1) Towers is NOT there any more.
2) AG is great player with a very club-friendly contract and NOT represented by Boras
3) Expensive (in terms of prospects), of course. But we have a surplus of young pitching talent.
4) Long term costs – Besides his recent history of protecting his future against injury by signing a long term, club friendly deal, the Braves could prorate an extension (for budget purposes) and keep it in a very reasonable range for the foreseeable future.
5) You don’t know the expense (prospects) if you don’t ask and maybe discuss for a bit. For example, does anybody honestly see a place on the Braves’ roster for JoJo? But he could be a workable asset to such a trade because of their big park.
6) I’m not interested in gutting the farm or selling the future, but it’s worth exploring!

Duh

November 11th, 2009
10:13 am

Been saying this since the 08 season

Art Vandelay

November 11th, 2009
10:15 am

I think the situation w/ Gonzalez will play out much like the situation with Peavy last year. San Diego will ask for the moon and stars for him and will have a hard time finding takers. I’m all for getting a guy with his ability, but I’d rather see us find a bat for the outfield and keep Laroche at 1B. His defense is outstanding, and in the 2nd half of the season, he can pretty much match Gonzalez’ production. It’s that pesky 1st half we have to worry about.

MWC

November 11th, 2009
10:16 am

Bobby is here for 1 more year and thats it…get over it.

Jim

November 11th, 2009
10:16 am

While I would love to have Gonzalez in Atlanta, the cost is too high. I can’t see any trade that doesn’t involve Freeman and 2 or 3 other top 10 prospects. Two years of Gonzalez isn’t worth that much.

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