The Boston Red Sox have agreed to trade three potential future stars for one current one in an effort to become relevant in the AL East again. Adrian Gonzalez is coming to Fenway. Maybe. All that stands in the way as I write this is figuring out if he’ll get $180 million or just $110 million over the next five to eight years (or something like that; I’m not privy to the negotiations).
This is exciting news. Gonzalez is a Gold Glove-winning first baseman tailor-made for hitting at Fenway. When Kevin Youkilis moves to third base, the Sox will have a very formidable infield with Dustin Pedroia at second base and the flavor of the day at short stop.
Nevertheless I can’t help but wonder at the wisdom — even the justice — of paying one player so much more than his teammates. How much lower down the skill ladder is Kevin Youkilis? Half a notch, maybe. And yet Gonzalez will, at a minimum, be making about 50 to 60 percent more money. Yes, it is the economics of the game. But is it fair? Is it even smart? Do players really not think about these inequities? Pedroia and Youkilis both came up through the Red Sox system, and seem to be paying a price for their own loyalty to the club. Not that I feel sorry for them with their sad little multi-million dollar contracts.
I also wonder how long it will take until we get pundits who start lamenting that we let one or more of these prospects get away. In the last year or two there’s been this undertone around the Boston sports media that maybe it wasn’t such a good deal, trading Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett. In four years, when Anthony Rizzo is a superstar, will we be hearing his name more often than Adrian Gonzalez. And imagine this, Rizzo may be a free agent just about the time Mark Texeira’s contract with the Yankees expires…
Okay, that’s all just normal Boston doom and gloom and now that I’ve gotten that out of the way let me just say, “Let the Adrian Gonzalez era begin.”