SI.com: 20 best MLB decisions of the past year

SI.com’s Jon Heyman put together a list of the 20 best decisions made by MLB teams over the past year.

His No. 1 was the Nationals’ signing of Stephen Strasburg, while his No. 2 was the Cubs’ decision to trade Milton Bradley to the Mariners in exchange for pitcher Carlos Silva (who is leading the club in wins, ERA and WHIP).

Heyman’s No. 4 best decision involves a team that has been one of the bigger surprises so far this season:

4. The Padres’ decision not to trade Adrian Gonzalez and/or Heath Bell

Everyone assumed new Padres GM Jed Hoyer would want to make a big splash and set the team up for the future by trading All-Star 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who could bring a haul with his reasonable contract ($10 mil over two years) and big-time talent. Word supposedly was that Hoyer had an obvious landing spot in his old haunt in Boston, where Hoyer had been an assistant GM and knew the system. That assumption was supposedly bolstered by Padres marketing materials that allegedly omitted Gonzalez.

However, Hoyer and Padres decision-makers held both Gonzalez and top reliever Heath Bell, fortified the rotation by adding stable veteran Jon Garland and kept their fingers crossed. To everyone’s surprise — except maybe San Diego’s brass — the Padres have been at or near the top of the NL West all year. Hoyer didn’t disrupt what former Padres GM Kevin Towers built in San Diego to satisfy his ego. Instead, he did the prudent thing. Just because Towers was fired by new owner Jeff Moorad doesn’t mean he did a bad job. It turns out there were some very good pieces in place, including what appears to be the majors’ best bullpen.

There is still some concern in San Diego that the Padres will be sellers at the trade deadline, but if they stay in contention in the NL West it’s hard to envision that happening. This is just speculation on my part, but I have to believe that if Hoyer does make a big move (i.e. trading Gonzo and/or Bell), it won’t come until after the season.

Until then, the Padres’ current roster will have every opportunity to make a run at the postseason this year.

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Adrian Gonzalez wants Mark Teixeira money

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Adrian Gonzalez is looking for a contract similar to the one Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason.

“This is a premium ballplayer,” said John Boggs, Gonzalez’s agent. “If you think you can get it done, he’s obviously somebody who’s moveable …

“I never try to dissolve the possibility (of a deal with the Padres), but I don’t see any signs.”

Boggs said his preliminary discussion with Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer was so superficial that “you couldn’t characterize it as a negotiation.” Boggs said Hoyer inquired as to Gonzalez’s expectations; that Boggs cited the eight-year, $180 million deal of New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira, and that that comment effectively ended Hoyer’s exploration.

Gonzalez still has two years remaining on the four-year, $9.5 million contract he signed in April of 2007. He’s owed $4.75 million this year and there’s a $5.5 million club option for 2011.

If the report is true and Gonzo is looking for Teixeira-type money, then he won’t get it from the Padres. The more likely scenario is San Diego acquiring a package similar to the one the Rangers got from the Braves when they traded Teixeira to Atlanta in July of 2007.

It’s likely that the Padres would look to trade Gonzo by the deadline this year, so they’re not on the hook for any of the $5.5 million in 2011. After all, if they know they can’t pay him then there’s no sense in delaying the process another year, unless they think they can get more in return if they wait until 2011.


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Red Sox “working hard” to obtain Adrian Gonzalez

Even after the signings of free agents John Lackey and Mike Cameron, the Red Sox aren’t satisfied this winter. According to FOX Sports.com, the BoSox are “working hard” to obtain Adrian Gonzalez in a trade with the Padres.

The addition of Lackey will give the Red Sox the flexibility to trade right-hander Clay Buchholz, who likely would be the centerpiece of any package for Gonzalez. Likewise, the addition of Cameron will give them the flexibility to trade outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Padres would be tempted to move Gonzalez if they could get Buchholz and Ellsbury in the same deal, sources say. However, the Red Sox would be very reluctant to include both, according to another source.

A separate person familiar with Boston’s position said the team is becoming comfortable with the idea of trading Buchholz. But the source expressed doubt that the Red Sox would include outfielder Ryan Westmoreland or pitcher Casey Kelly in the deal; at present, the Padres are trying to obtain one of the two high-level prospects.

This is a deal that may never happen because Boston won’t part with the necessary pieces in order to acquire a big bat like Gonzo. San Diego wants pitching and top-level prospects so that they can compete in a few years. Plus, Gonzo is a fan favorite so they’re not going to trade him without getting a haul in return.

Boston better be ready to part with a couple of key prospects if they want the San Diego slugger.


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White Sox interested in Adrian Gonzalez

The White Sox are interested in acquiring Padres’ first base slugger Adrian Gonzalez but as the Chicago Tribune notes, bringing Gonzo to the “Windy City” won’t be easy.

But here are some reasons why such a trade could be difficult to pull off. First, the Padres would be seeking four top-notch prospects at pitcher, center field, catcher and second base for a player of Gonzalez’s caliber.

The Sox have touted pitcher Daniel Hudson, outfielder Jordan Danks and catcher Tyler Flowers as core players of their future. All three players could make the Sox’s 2010 opening-day roster, but trading all three would be a significant hit to the Sox’s development unless other young players accelerate their progress.

The Angels, known for their farm-system success, could aid the Sox, but wouldn’t be required to pick up the bulk of the cost for such a proposed deal.

Although Konerko nearly signed with the Angels four years ago and maintains mutual respect with Scioscia, a major-league scout who follows all three Southern California organizations said the Angels have depth in their organization should they lose Guerrero and wouldn’t have to pursue Konerko.

Juan Rivera could move from the outfield to DH. The Angels still have Gary Matthews Jr., who will earn about $23 million over the next two years as a part-time player.

Finally, new Padres general manager Jed Hoyer was an assistant for four years at Boston, which reportedly has interest in Gonzalez. The Padres and Red Sox have done business in the past, and Hoyer is very familiar with the Red Sox’s deep farm system.

Hoyer has a daunting task of rebuilding a franchise that has lost 186 games over the past two seasons. So if he inevitably trades his most valuable bargaining chip, he will make sure to get his price — which will be steep.

Williams traded for Peavy last year and now is hot for Gonzalez, so it appears that he’s willing to sell the farm in order to acquire the marquee talent to win another World Series. As long as Peavy stays healthy, the Sox have the pitching to compete for a championship, but adding a slugger like Gonzo would be a necessity to help provide some pop to the offense.


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Red Sox, Padres discussing deal for Gonzalez

According to a report by the Boston Globe, the Red Sox and Padres are in discussions about a deal that would send slugger Adrian Gonzalez to Beantown.

Padres GM Kevin Towers was said to be asking for “a ton” for Gonzalez according to one major league source familiar with the Padres’ thinking. Some of the names being discussed included Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Westmoreland, Justin Masterson and others, but no word on whether the Red Sox had offered a package for Gonzalez.

Less was known about the status of talks between Cleveland and Boston for Victor Martinez. The teams have been discussing Martinez for quite some time, but the Red Sox have been reluctant to deliver Buchholz for the catcher/first baseman.

Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi remained pessimistic about trading Roy Halladay, but as one team’s top advisor said last night, “where there’s a huge pitcher available some teams don’t show their best hand until the final moments of the deadline. You might see that with Boston at the end.”

I don’t know how Boston fans feel, but as an outsider, it seems like the Red Sox are lacking something offensively. They’re going to be in contention for either the AL East crown or the AL Wild Card no matter what. But adding a slugger like Gonzo would certainly add more pop to their lineup and give them some extra firepower against the Yankees and Rays in the division.

But is he worth the price? After a hot start, he’s only hitting .252 with 28 home runs. This is after racing out to 15 home runs and a .311 average in mid May. One would think that his numbers would rise in Boston’s lineup, but his average is death right now.

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