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Adrián González

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Adrián Sabin González

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[edit] Biographical Information

Adrián González was the first overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft, drafted by the Florida Marlins. He was signed by scout David Finley and made his pro debut that summer. However, he never played for the Fish. In 2003, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina, who helped lead the Marlins to a World Series title. With the Rangers, Gonzalez received little playing time, playing only 16 games in 2004 and 43 games in 2005 while completing his minor league apprenticeship.

In the off-season of 2005, Gonzalez was dealt, along with Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge, to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. In San Diego, he finally became a starter at first base, and had a solid 2006 season (24 HRs, 82 RBI). He had his first 100 RBI season in 2007 for the Padres, and made the All-Star team the next season when he hit 36 homers and drove in a career-best 119 runs, and also won a Gold Glove as the National League's best defensive first baseman for the first time. His brother, Edgar Gonzalez, was his teammate on the Padres that year.

González was Mexico's first baseman in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He hit .273/.407/.636 with 5 walks, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 6 runs and 7 RBI in six games, leading Mexico in both runs and RBI though several starters had better OPSes. Six of his RBI, though, came in one rout of the South African national team - a RBI double and 2-run homer off Justin Erasmus and a 3-run shot off Jared Elario. He continued his excellent production with the bat during the 2009 season, hitting .277/.407/.551 with 40 homers and 99 RBI. He also led the NL with 119 walks, was an All-Star again and won his second Gold Glove. In 2010, he hit .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers and 101 RBI and made the All-Star team again. He finished 4th in the voting for the NL MVP Award, his highest finish ever. However, he had only a year left on his contract, and was expecting a huge payday given the tremendous numbers he had been putting up. The Padres were not ready to commit the sort of money needed to retain him for the long term, and on December 6th traded him to the Boston Red Sox for four prospects: 1B Anthony Rizzo, P Casey Kelly, OF Reymond Fuentes and IF Eric Patterson.

One of the first things the Red Sox did after trading for Gonzalez was to sign him to a long-term contract, a seven-year deal worth $160 million signed in April of 2011. He went on to have perhaps his best season that year, hitting .338/.410/.548 with 27 homers and 117 RBI. Fenway Park slightly decreased his power number because of its large right field area, but he had an American League-leading 213 hits, as well as 45 doubles. He returned to the All-Star Game for the 4th straight year, won his third Gold Glove and added the first Silver Slugger Award of his career. While Adrian was a rock in the middle of the batting order, it was CF Jacoby Ellsbury who did well in the MVP voting, finishing second, while Gonzalez had to settle for 7th place. However, the season ended on a bitter note, as the Tampa Bay Rays caught and passed the Red Sox for the AL wild card spot on the last day of the season. The Red Sox changed managers and general managers going into 2012, and the season was a rough one from the beginning, with injuries, an early bullpen collapse, and disappointing performances by a number of stars. Gonzalez was among these, as his power numbers fell further, as did his walks, even though he was still producing plenty of hits and doubles. As a result, he missed the All-Star Game for the first time in five years. In late July, he was designated by his teammates as their representative in meeting with owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino to express criticism about new manager Bobby Valentine; news of the meeting leaked to the media, fueling more dissension. On August 24th, it was reported that his name had not only been placed on waivers, but claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move was an attempt by the Red Sox to free themselves of the huge sum due him over the next five seasons, and they immediately began discussions with the Dodgers on a blockbuster trade that would see them move two other problematic contracts (those of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett) to the once-again rich Dodgers in return for a raft of younger - and cheaper - players. The deal was completed officially on August 25th, with IF Nick Punto also joining the group, and Gonzalez started his career as a Dodger in storybook fashion, hitting a three-run homer off the Miami Marlins' Josh Johnson in his first at-bat as a Dodger to key an 8-2 win before a rapturous home crowd. He hit .297 with 10 doubles and 3 homers in 36 games for the Dodfgers; with 22 RBIs with his new team, he passed the 100 mark for the 3rd straight year.

Adrian had another solid season in 2013, his first full one with the Dodgers, as he made it it four straight years (and 6 out of 7) with 100 or more RBIs. He collected 100 on the nose that season, and the only season he had missed the mark since 2007, he had finished with 99. He also hit 32 doubles and 22 homers, to go along with a batting line of .293/.342/.461 in 157 games. While teammates Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig grabbed most of the headlines as Los Angeles returned to the postseason with a tremendous mid-season surge, Adrian was the steady day-to-day presence in the middle of the line-up. He went 6 for 18 with a homer and 4 RBI as the Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves in four games in the Division Series. In the NLCS, he was 6 for 20, with 2 doubles and 2 homers, scoring 6 runs, as Los Angeles lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. He then started the 2014 season slowly, as his average was only .077 after his first three games, but he then began swinging the bat very well, getting hits in his next 9 games including homers in four consecutive games from April 9-13.

In his autobiography published in 2013, Adrian's former manager with the Red Sox, Terry Francona, explained the thinking behind the acquisition of Gonzalez and fellow marquee player Crawford before the 2011 season. Francona claims that the Sox's owners were concerned about declining ratings for Sox games on NESN and decided that they needed a "sexier" team to appeal to more women viewers. This prompted the decision to acquired the two handsome players at great cost, a move that upset the chemistry of a winning team and eventually led it to the cellar.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2001 MVP Midwest League Kane County Cougars
  • 4-time All-Star (2008-2011)
  • 3-time Gold Glove Winner (2008/NL, 2009/NL & 2011/AL)
  • AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2011)
  • AL Hits Leader (2011)
  • NL Bases on Balls Leader (2009)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (2006-2011 & 2013)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2007-2010)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2009)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 6 (2007, 2008 & 2010-2013)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2007, 2008 & 2011)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (2011)

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