You wouldn’t think a mere five years would be a long enough span for a player to etch his name into a franchise’s record books. But Adrian Gonzalez and his tenure with the San Diego Padres suggests otherwise.
Gonzalez, still just 38 years of age, spent from 2006 to 2010 with the Friars, earning three All-Star nods and a pair of Gold Gloves. The former number one overall pick out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, CA came over from the Texas Rangers in January 2006 along with Terrmel Sledge in exchange for a trio of players.
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Soon enough, he was making a name for himself with the Padres.
In his first year with San Diego, Gonzalez racked up 63 extra-base hits, including 25 home runs and 38 doubles. But it was in 2007 that he really cemented his place as one of the best hitters in the game. That season, he tallied 182 hits, 30 home runs and 100 RBI while slugging north of .500 – something he did in every season with the team.
From 2007 to 2010, the slugger averaged 34 home runs and 105 RBI – with a .284/.377/.517 slash line. By OPS+ he was 44 percent better than league average during that span. Using wRC+, 38 percent better at the plate.
In short, this guy was an absolute stud.
His peak season with the Padres came in 2009, when he drew a league-best 119 walks, smacked 40 home runs for the first and only time in his career and turned in a career-best 5.8 WAR, a figure that ranked third among NL first baseman, trailing only ‘The Machine’ Albert Pujols and slugger Prince Fielder.
Padres got the best out of Adrian Gonzalez in his career
Following the 2010 season in which he finished fourth in NL MVP voting, San Diego sent Gonzalez packing, trading him to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a prospect package headlined by Anthony Rizzo. Of course, the Padres wound up trading Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs for Andrew Cashner, who spent five years of his career with the team.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, spent two years in Boston before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was making big-time money by this point in his career and is probably more remembered for teams swapping his salary off the books than what he did early in his career. But make no mistake, he left a lasting mark on the Padres organization.
His 161 home runs rank second all-time in franchise history, just two off the all-time mark of 163, set by Nate Colbert. Gonzalez was remarkably durable, never playing in fewer than 156 games in a single season with San Diego. He knew his role, played it well and was about as dependable as they came.