4-17-2011: Adrian’s extension


I’m a couple of days late on this one, but Adrian Gonzalez made it official with the Red Sox this week, signing a seven-year contract extension worth $154M that goes from 2012 through 2018. The always competent Theo Epstein-led front office saved quite a bundle by announcing the extensions of Clay Buchholz and Gonzalez after the season began, due to the way the 2011 competitive balance tax salary (CBT, or luxury tax number) is calculated.

What can we expect going forward?

Gonzalez is a perennial All-Star, and a hard worker and role model to boot. Already his leadership qualities are being extolled, after just a couple of months with the team. Given the way he’s looked following off-season shoulder surgery this year (.250/.368/.396 with solid defense and some aggressive baserunning), he’s a good bet going forward.

Here’s what our projection system sees for him over the next 8 years:

Year AB H 2B HR R RBI BB SO Avg OBP SLG OPS wOBA
2011 606 175 39 30 98 105 81 121 0.289 0.378 0.507 0.885 0.392
2012 615 176 38 30 98 106 81 122 0.287 0.375 0.503 0.878 0.389
2013 617 175 37 30 97 106 78 121 0.284 0.370 0.496 0.866 0.384
2014 612 172 35 29 95 103 74 118 0.281 0.363 0.487 0.850 0.378
2015 600 166 33 28 91 99 68 115 0.277 0.355 0.475 0.830 0.369
2016 580 158 30 25 85 93 61 109 0.271 0.346 0.460 0.806 0.359
2017 553 147 27 23 79 85 53 103 0.266 0.335 0.444 0.779 0.348
2018 518 134 24 20 71 76 45 95 0.259 0.323 0.426 0.749 0.335

So yes, he should have many productive years ahead, and be a top run producer for at least 4-5 more years, barring injury. Some look at my projection and think it’s way low on the home runs. And they may be right. But don’t forget that Gonzo is coming from the NL West to the AL East. Yes, he’s coming from PETCO to a hitter’s park, but Fenway doesn’t elevate HRs in general and he’s coming to a team that had 31% of its plate appearances against lefties in 2010, compared with 29% for the Padres last year. And those lefties are people like CC Sabathia and David Price.

Is it too much money?

Gonzalez is a very good, if not great player. But how much can we afford to spend on a guy like this, especially when we have four guys locked into our rotation earning well into the double-digits of millions of dollars yearly? Let’s take a look at the committed money over the next few years (numbers approximate, from Cot’s Contracts):

Millions 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Starting 9 82.6 91.7 60.5 51.0 41.5 41.8
Bench 19.4 7.2 4.9 2.3 0.0 0.0
Rotation 52.9 52.1 53.1 48.1 38.7 0.0
Bullpen 18.1 26.5 6.6 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 172.9 177.6 125.0 101.4 80.2 41.8

For comparison’s sake, we’ve included the 2010 numbers as well. So you can see that despite the Gonzalez and Carl Crawford signings, the Red Sox look to have some $20-25M to spend on positional players to replace those who may be leaving. We will have to replace J.D. Drew in right, but there are several internal candidates who could do that, and we will have to decide what to do about catcher and shortstop, though we have arbitration control over Jarrod Saltalamacchia and an option on Marco Scutaro for 2012. I’m assuming we will keep Jacoby Ellsbury through arbitration to play center, but we will need a new DH if David Ortiz doesn’t stay. But’s one place we don’t necessarily have to spend much money on.

I see the Sox moving Daisuke Matsuzaka this offseason, making two openings in the rotation which will have to be filled cheaply, or if Jonathan Papelbon walks, we could use the savings from the bullpen to get a decent free agent starter. Altogether, we are talking about roughly $40-45M of free money next offseason, which is enough.

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