I like Alex Gonzalez, mostly because it takes an unbelievable amount of guts to keep playing baseball while your son is in a coma. His is an incredible story. But upon news that Gonzalez has signed a one-year deal with Toronto rather than wait to see whether the Red Sox find a better option before throwing him a few mil, Bob Ryan takes the Seabass love a little too far.
Here’s one thing we can say about Alex Gonzalez.
The ball is hit to short and you can write “6-3’’ in your scorebook without looking up. It’s a done deal.
Absolutely. I mean, the 159 times the ball has been hit to Alex Gonzalez every single time we've written down "6-3" in our scorebooks. Well, except that error he committed. And the 51 times he recorded a putout himself. And the 17 times he was part of a double play.
But sure, every single time other than the times he didn't, Alex Gonzalez has without fail recorded an out at first base.
So why won’t he be here next year? Did anyone ask the pitchers what they think?
Yeah! I mean, this is a democracy, right? When Theo Epstein decided not to go a fourth year on Pedro Martinez, that was done with the rest of the pitchers' blessing, right? And when he brought in David Ortiz, I'm sure that was done with the affirmation of all the other 1B/DH candidates. And when he traded Coco Crisp for a middle reliever, I'm sure Bob Ryan was asking what the pitchers thought about losing such a sure-handed center fielder. That's what I love about this team: The most successful run in Red Sox history, including the first World Championships in nearly 90 years, has been unequivocally fashioned by asking the players (and Bob Ryan) what they thought about each potential move.
Instead of Alex Gonzalez and the sure 6-3s, we will have a familiar player at short next year. Mr. X.
Mr. X might be Marco Scutaro or Khalil Greene or even Jed Lowrie (if he ever cures his wrist woes), or it could be someone off our radar screen entirely. But it’s doubtful Mr. X will be as soothing to the psyche of the pitchers as Alex Gonzalez, who was the best 162-game defensive shortstop I’ve ever seen in a Red Sox uniform back in 2006 and who wasn’t far from that status during the 44 games he played here in 2009. There’s a lot to be said for relaxing 6-3s, not to mention efficient 6-4-3s and 4-6-3s.
Alex Gonzalez: Really good in 2006. Indispensable for 2010.
I'm sure the fact that Gonzalez will be 33 next year won't in any way change his ability to get to the ball compared to what it was when he was 29. I'm also sure that it won't have any effect on his noodle bat — you know, the one that made him a replacement-level player last year, even after you factor in his good defense.
Did anyone ask the pitchers whether they like run support? How about whether they like going further than the first round of the playoffs?
Because a team like the Red Sox needs at least a league-average shortstop, no matter how nice Bob Ryan's scorebook looks.