So, Boston sports talk radio is barely listenable as it is. But, it’s about to get even worse. Jed Hoyer officially announced that he doesn’t see how the Padres can keep Adrian Gonzalez after he becomes a free agent. Translation? Send me your trade offers now, because I better get something for him before he walks. So, I expect non-stop trade offers to be discussed by the EEIdiots. Every call will consist of, “What if we ship them Dice-K and Mike Cameron? Then they get the pitching and outfielding they need!” After all, what every team begs for is all of our overpaid contracts. So, while I don’t like Hoyer’s announcement for my ability to listen to the radio, is does give me something to write about. And, no, I’m not going to suggest my own trade proposals…although I’d still do Buchholz and Ellsbury if that’s still on the table.
What I do find interesting is what this announcement means for baseball. By all accounts, Gonzalez is one of “those” players. He’s a superstar, just getting ready to put up his prime numbers. He’s a defensive whiz at first base. He is exactly the type of player GMs drool over when they hit the market. He’ll very likely seek a $100+ million contract, and will probably be worth every cent of it. That leaves one question to be asked. If he’s such a rare talent, why aren’t the Padres keeping him?
Assuming that, as has been implied, it’s only the money that is making him leave. The Padres said they can’t afford him. His agent said they can’t afford him. So, I’m going to assume that it’s not that he doesn’t like San Diego. If the Padres had the money, he’d be in San Diego for the rest of his career. So, the obvious observation is that this is yet another case for better revenue sharing. How is it fair that the Padres need to lose such talent just because they play in a small market? After all, the Yankees wouldn’t be making their money if there were no other teams to play. This is a clear-cut argument for a salary cap or some other form of salary restrictions. And, that’s an absolutely valid argument.
But, isn’t this also an example of poor business by the Padres? The game currently has no salary cap. The owners can spend as much money as they see fit to build a winning club. If the Padres owner can’t shell out that kind of money for Adrian Gonzalez, will he ever? If there was ever a time to stretch the purse strings, isn’t this it? Gonzalez is the face of the franchise. The Padres finished, what, a game behind the World Champions in their division? If they sign Gonzalez now, for the big bucks, do their fans come along with him? After the Red Sox signed Pedro Martinez, ticket prices went up. I doubt anyone complained. Same thing with Manny. So, why don’t the Padres take it on this chin with this one player? They tell their fans they want to put a product out there worth watching. They have a beautiful park, and now a fantastic franchise player. Isn’t that how you build a fan base? Isn’t that how you increase revenue? Isn’t that how you afford the next piece the next year? A division title in 2011 is certainly attainable. Why not use that and Gonzalez as the anchor to the franchise? Why not go for it and make the Padres relevant again? Why simply hide behind the “small market” label and go for the “woe is me” argument? Shouldn’t they take this opportunity to make the Padres into something?
Unless, of course, they really will trade him to the Sox for Matsuzaka and Cameron.