It was already going to be difficult for the Padres to justify putting 25% of their overall payroll into one player, even if that player is an offensive powerhouse, gold glove winner, and all around good guy for the community. It may have just become even tougher with yesterday’s announcement of another N.L. first baseman signing a record contract.
While Adrian Gonzalez just saw his upcoming payday increase when his current contract expires after 2011, he may have also witnessed his chances of staying with his hometown team significantly diminish.
No one is begrudging Ryan Howard for agreeing to a 5-year $125M deal with the Phillies. After all, over 7 major league seasons he has averaged 49 HR’s and 142 RBI’s. Sure he strikes out too much, and is an improved but still below average defender at first base, but run production is king, and winning championships is boss.
So, how do Howard and Gonzalez compare? Gonzo has so far averaged 32 HR’s and 99 RBI’s over the same length of career. At first glance it could appear that Howard is the more productive player, but you have to take into account that he plays in the VERY hitter friendly Citizen’s Bank Park, while Adrian plays half his games at the left hander stingy Petco Park, and Howard has had the support of one of the most prolific offenses in recent N.L. history. Also, don’t forget the difference in what Gonzo brings on the defensive side with his Gold Glove, and the fact that he is 3 years younger than Howard. The comparison is more than fair, and so should be the compensation.
The charge has just become even more challenging for Adrian to stay focused on playing here and now with the Padres, while contract figures and trade rumors swirl around him. Seems to me what everyone needs to keep in mind is this – today he is a member of the San Diego Padres. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, so there is no sense in worrying about it, or allowing speculation to take away from the reality of now.
Hopefully Adrian can stay in the moment, and continue to help THIS team to win NOW, and the fans and media (of which I am both) can simply indulge in watching and celebrating one of the best players in the game…whether he is here for one more day, or a decade.