San Diego Padres: Re-visiting the Adrian Gonzalez trade

(Photo by Andy Hayt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Hayt/Getty Images) /

Adrian Gonzalez was a phenomenal player with the San Diego Padres, but his trade to the Boston Red Sox was a tough pill to swallow.

Originally drafted first overall in the 2000 MLB Draft, Adrian Gonzalez‘s path to the San Diego Padres was a whirlwind. The Marlins made him the first infielder taken first overall since Alex Rodriguez in 1993, but he was immediately traded to the Texas Rangers. He made his Major League debut in 2004 but batted just .229 in 59 games before being traded to the Padres after the 2005 season.

With regular playing time, he became one of the premier power hitters in the league batting .304 in 156 games with 24 home runs and 82 in his first season in San Diego. He would go onto finish with a .288/.374/.514 line with 161 home runs and 501 RBI in five seasons.

Before the 2007 season, Gonzalez agreed to a four-year, $9.5 million team-friendly deal, but the Padres were unable to give him the big-money contract he deserved.

After the 2010 season, Gonzalez was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for right-hander Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Rey Fuentes, and Eric Patterson. For the Red Sox, this trade made a lot of sense in that third baseman Adrian Beltre was set to hit the open market, and they were able to move Kevin Youkilis over to third in his place.

Kelly was taken with the 30th overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, but injuries derailed his career and was converted to a reliever in 2015 with the Padres’ Triple-A outfit. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves after the season.

Rizzo was one of the most highly-touted first base prospects in the game. However, he batted just .141 in 49 games with the Padres during the 2011 season. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for top pitching prospect, Andrew Cashner, but the Cubs saw Rizzo turn into a superstar over the next few seasons.

Rizzo had a breakout year in 2014 at the age of 24, posting a .913 OPS while earning his first All-Star selection and finished tenth in NL MVP voting. I don’t think anyone will argue that the Padres gave up on Rizzo prematurely and may go down as one of the biggest regrets in team history.

Fuentes was a former first-round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft and batted .275 with five home runs and 45 RBI with the High-A Lake Elsinore in 2011. His average dipped to .218 in 136 games at the Double-A level. He was called up to the show in 2013 but batted just .152 in 23 games and was traded to the Royals after the 2014 season.

Patterson was the player-to-be-named-later in this deal. He was no stranger to being traded after initially being drafted in the eighth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Cubs. He would make two other stops in Oakland and, obviously, Boston before landing in San Diego. Patterson was designated for assignment not long into his career.

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Gonzalez lasted just two years in Boston but became a staple in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup over the next several seasons. In 2014, he finished seventh in the NL MVP voting while posting an NL-leading 116 RBI. His production dropped off after the 2016 season, and he hasn’t played since 2018.