Adrián González

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Adrián Sabin González

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Biographical Information[edit]

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. Another brother, David González Jr., coached for the Mexican national team in 2012, when Adrian played for them. His father David González Sr. also has coached for Mexico.

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. He was once again overshadowed all season by more prominent teammates, but proved to be a force in the middle of the line-up, leading the NL with 116 RBIs. he was named the winner of the Silver Slugger Award , his first as a National Leaguer, after the season.

Gonzalez started the 2015 season red hot. On April 8th, he connected for three homers off Andrew Cashner of the Padres to lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 win. Not only was he the first major league batter with a three-homer game that year, but it made him the first in major league history to have five home runs in his team's first three games, as he had connected in the Dodgers' first two games as well. With four hits that day, he had 10 over the three-game span, becoming the first NL batter since Orlando Cepeda in 1963 to open a season with three games of three or more hits. He was named the NL Player of the Month for April, after hitting .383 with 9 doubles, 8 homers, 19 runs scored and 19 RBIs. He finished the year at .275 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs in 156 games. He also returned to the All-Star Game for the first time in five years. He hit .316 (6 for 19) with ab homer and 5 RBIs in the Dodgers' loss to the New York Mets in the Division Series.

In the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was the biggest name on the Mexican national team, managed now by his brother Edgar. He was 2 for 6 with 4 runs and at least five walks in three games as Mexico cruised to a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He led the qualifiers in OBP (.667, .035 ahead of Anthony Phillips) and tied for fourth in runs. He followed that with another solid season with the Dodgers in 2016, when he hit .285 with 18 homers and 90 RBIs in 156 games. The Dodgers won their 4th straight division title and he hit a pair of homers and drove in 6 runs in two postseason rounds, although he hit below .200 (8 for 41). But his team once again failed to make it to the World Series.

Gonzalez was again the most prominent player for Mexico at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where the team had the advantage of playing in front of hometown fans at Estadio Charros de Jalisco. It didn't help much, however, as the team lost two of three games and was eliminated from a possible group playoff game because it lost a tiebreaker by the smallest of margins. He played badly in the tournament, going 1 for 12 with a run and a RBI as Mexico's worst-hitting starter. His lone hit came off Wil Ledezma. Gonzalez felt that the tiebreaking formula was unfair and that his teammates had been given incorrect information regarding the margin of victory needed in their final game in order to stay alive. As a result, he publicly criticized the tournament organizers and vowed never to play in the WBC again although, at 35, it was unlikely he would ever get the chance to do so anyway). The Dodgers had a historically good season in 2017, although ths time Gonzalez was not one of the main drivers of their success. he started the year in a power drought, not connecting for his first long ball until [[May 26], then on June 12th went on the disabled list with a herniated disc, and was soon moved to the 60-day DL, putting him out until late August. He was hitting .255 with that lone homer and 23 RBIs in 49 games when he went down, and in contrast, the player who got most of the playing time at first base in his absence, rookie Cody Bellinger, was crushing the ball, putting Adrian's longer-term future with the team in doubt. He was re-activated on August 18th while on the same day the Dodgers acquired veteran OF Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets, suddenly giving them a surplus of players for the four spots in the outfield and at first base. He doubled in his first plate appearance back. he played 21 games after his return, but his back problems bothered him again and on September 27th, he announced that he would likely miss the postseason as a result. He ended the season at .242 in 71 games, with only 3 homers and 30 RBIs. Ironically, he had hit his third and final homer of the year in his last game, against the Padres on September 26th in what was his first start in two weeks, but the back problem flared up again after the game, forcing Adrian to throw in the towel for the season and the postseason.

On December 16th, he was sent to the Atlanta Braves along with SS Charlie Culberson and Ps Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy in return for Matt Kemp in a trade structured to provide the Dodgers salary room in a year's time. A clear sign that this was not a trade swung for on-field reasons was that Gonzalez was designated for assignment on December 19th, effectively making him a free agent, with Atlanta still responsible for his 2018 salary. On January 13, 2018, he signed a one-year with the New York Mets, essentially to act as insurance in case prospect Dominic Smith was not ready to be a full-time starter at first base. He started the season as the Mets' regular first baseman and hit .237 with 6 homers and 26 RBIs in 54 games. With the Mets losing badly after a hot start, there was little point in keeping him on the roster providing sub-par production and on June 10th, he was released to make way for Smith, who was called up from AAA.

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 acquire the two handsome players at great cost, a move that upset the chemistry of a winning team and eventually led it to the cellar. He became eligible for election to the Hall of Fame in 2024 but was dropped off the ballot after receiving only 3 votes.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2001 MVP Midwest League Kane County Cougars
  • 5-time All-Star (2008-2011 & 2015)
  • 4-time Gold Glove Winner (2008/NL, 2009/NL, 2011/AL & 2014/NL)
  • 2-time Silver Slugger Award Winner (2011/AL & 2014/NL)
  • AL Hits Leader (2011)
  • NL RBI Leader (2014)
  • NL Bases on Balls Leader (2009)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 9 (2006-2011 & 2013-2015)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2007-2010)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2009)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 7 (2007, 2008 & 2010-2014)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2007, 2008 & 2011)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (2011)

Related Sites[edit]