Could the Los Angeles Dodgers have actually opened up a possibility for the Colorado Rockies to land a veteran first baseman? It may have happened, thanks in part to the massive trade that was made last week between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves.
Part of the big trade that went down between the Braves and Dodgers was Los Angeles sending Adrian Gonzalez and his massive contract to Atlanta. It was part of the “cash dump” by the Dodgers that is reportedly setting them up for next offseason’s potentially massive free agent class. The 35-year-old Gonzalez was barely sent to Atlanta before the Braves designated him for assignment. Now a free agent, Gonzalez has said he is not ready to retire.
With Gonzalez looking for a new job and the Rockies looking for a first baseman who could add some pop to the lineup, could the two be a good match for each other. Potentially, yes. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it might work.
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First, as Rockies fans well know, Gonzalez had done well at Coors Field and against the Rockies. In 88 games at Coors Field primarily during his years with the Padres and Dodgers, Gonzalez posted a .307/.380/.539 line with an OPS of .918.
Second, last season was an injury-filled one for Gonzalez where he played just 70 games. His last full season played (in 2016) saw him hit .285 with 18 homers and 90 RBI. With the Rockies, Gonzalez may not have to play every day. With Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon in the wings, Gonzalez would not be forced into action every day. At the age of 35, that may not be a horrible scenario.
Third, it also gives Gonzalez a chance to play for a team that has a window for winning right now. Nearing the end of his career, that is always attractive to veterans. As much success as Gonzalez has had, he has never played in a World Series (he was inactive for last year’s Dodgers run).
Fourth, Gonzalez has been solid at the plate but has been the same defensively at first base. He is a four-time Gold Glove winner (last snaring it in 2014) and whoever is playing first for the Rockies will need to be strong defensively. As great as Nolan Arenado can be in the field, he can also send some throws across the diamond that have to be picked by the first baseman. Mark Reynolds was a master of that over the last two seasons.
Gonzalez was paid more than $22 million last season by the Dodgers. After being traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in 2012, his salary never went below $21 million. Obviously, there is no way the Rockies will pay that kind of price for his services. However, if Gonzalez was willing to sign a one-year deal for south of $10 million, it might be a nice price tag for the Rockies.
There are other intangibles there as well. Gonzalez would bring plenty of postseason experience to the locker room in addition to his veteran presence. Someone will a lot of knowledge about the Dodgers would never be a bad thing to have on Colorado’s side either.
A veteran like Gonzalez would be a welcome addition to the Rockies at the right price. With the Rockies in “win now” mode, the move might make perfect sense.