Adrian Gonzalez must have used a lousy travel agent. To get from San Diego to Los Angeles, he had to go through Boston with a year-and-a-half layover.
"This is the best situation for me. I couldn't be happier. They almost did me in a way a ... ," the Dodgers first baseman said, pulling up short of calling the most expensive trade in baseball history that sent him from Boston to LA a favor. "(They) put me in a situation I wouldn't be in coming from San Diego. I don't know if that trade could have happened - coming from San Diego to here. It's almost like it was meant to be."
The Dodgers tried to bring Gonzalez to LA the direct way. In 2009, they reportedly offered five players (including regulars James Loney and Russell Martin) for Gonzalez and reliever Heath Bell, two players rapidly becoming too expensive for the small-market Padres. The Padres opted to keep Gonzalez through 2010. By then, the Dodgers were operating like a small-market team themselves and watched the Red Sox acquire Gonzalez and give him a seven-year, $154 million contract extension that kicked in last year.
Gonzalez had the best year of his career in 2011, batting .338 with a league-leading 213 hits, 27 home runs and 117 RBI. He won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for American League first basemen. But by the time he accepted those awards, things had begun to change in Boston.
The Red Sox's epic collapse in 2011 set the sharks circling. Stories about beer and chicken in the clubhouse, a managerial change and alleged player revolt against the new manager became the narrative in Boston last year. Gonzalez was caught up in it but he claims now he never soured on the hyper-intense atmosphere that comes with playing in the fishbowl that is Boston.
"It's a situation – I guess most places are like that – when you're traded like we were, they spin it to make you sound like a bad guy," Gonzalez said. "I think at the end of the day, I had a great time. I had a great experience. I'm really happy for the opportunity to play there. But now, I'm really really happy and excited to be here and really excited about where the team is heading and what we have an opportunity to do here.
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Accidental tourist Gonzalez is happy to hit L.A.
Orange County Register | Feb 27