Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fun with Adrian

Adrian Gonzalez was worth about 15 victories to the Padres last year, agent Scott Boras told this blog recently. "For a team like the Red Sox, he's worth about seven victories," Boras said.

Fifteen victories? Ten would make for a better debate here.

Not that Boras has to convince us that "Gonzo" made the Padres a lot more capable.

When the Padres traded Gonzalez in December, I wrote the Padres were raising the white flag on the 2011 season and predicted stardom for him in Boston.

Boras said Gonzalez had extra value here because he was the one true stud in a weak lineup. A similar point was made by a few scouts in our Pink Pony Scouts Chat entering this season. In essence, those scouts predicted a nasty cascade for the Padres as Gonzalez's absence came to bear on the other players.

It isn't hard to see their point. Further, Gonzalez was the rare lefty able to hit for power at Petco National Park. A lefty named Barry Bonds who also played his home games in a pitchers' park said Petco erased so many pitchers' mistakes, that it was "not baseball."

Gonzalez troubled both lefty and righty pitchers, average and elite, which grabbed the attention of every opposing manager and buoyed his teammates.

Defensively, he emboldened other infielders. Third baseman Chase Headley, for one, looked rattled this year after Brad Hawpe failed to snag throws that Gonzalez likely would've caught.

All of this is to say, I agree with the substance of what Boras said but am skeptical about his provocative conclusion. Then again, this is a man who has made a habit of winning at the negotiating table, opposite some very smart people.

Boras doesn't represent Gonzalez. He does represent Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. The hunch here is that when Fielder goes into free agency this offseason, Boras will talk about what Gonzalez meant to both the Red Sox and the Padres.

As for how many victories Gonzalez would've meant to the Padres this year, it's a question indulged only for folly's sake. It's impossible to answer, of course. Had the Padres decided to keep Gonzalez, they likely would've made other personnel moves different from the ones they made. For his part, Gonzalez would've been entering his walk year, a new experience for him.

Nevertheless, I put a similar question to the Twitter community. Where would the Padres be with Gonzalez?

At the time I asked the question -- Aug. 24 -- the Padres shared last place with the Dodgers and had a 60-70 record despite having scored more runs than they allowed. They trailed the division-leading Diamondbacks by 10 games. Later that day, the Padres lost to the Giants to begin a nine-game losing streak, nearly to the same day as last year's 10-game skid.

On to the responses:

Bodie: Four to five games out.

SDSUfan5: Third.

uncapthelyd: In the lead of the NL West.

Coacht55: Fifth.

Coacht55: Gonzalez's impact is greater in Boston than it was in San Diegoo.

thesacbunt: Ahead of the Dodgers but not running with the Diamondbacks and Giants.

dropthegloves2: The Pads were so bad in the first half that I don't think Adrian being pitched around would have helped. Guzman matched in 2nd

drakosm: Maybe barely ahead of the Rockies. Not enough better for it to matter. Plus we might have missed the Jesus Guzman experience.

CommProf: @tomkrasovic when did Hacksaw hijack your Twitter account??

BFISA: Adrian wasn't taking SD discount, Pads couldn't afford him, never would have seen Guzman develop as Padre #nonissue

woedoctor: Adrian alone could not have been enough to turn any of the 16+ times the #Padres have been shut out this season into Ws

bryan: first, easily. probably at least six games ahead at this point.

refriedgringo: W/O Adrian, Pads not much better off. No Guzman, who has accounted for a lot of the Padres success since All-Star Break.

thesacbunt: The Padres have gotten 2.2 wins out of 1B this year, with Guzman providing 1.6 of them. Adrian's currently at 5.3.

CommProf: Too hypothetical to give a full answer to. Glad we built up the farm for the future, though I do miss Adrian.

CommProf: It's just too hard to know what the team really would have looked like without Rizzo, Guzman up, depth in the farm, etc.

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