A Case For Adrian Gonzalez
Last night on the MLB Network, Jon Heyman said that the Mets won’t go after Padres’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez because they have Ike Davis waiting in the wings. Strange, because only a couple of days earlier he tweeted that the Mets would be contacting the Padres about Adrian Gonzalez according to a baseball executive. Does this qualify as a split verdict?
Also, I loved his choice of words… “Ike Davis waiting in the wings”. Last off season we had Nick Evans waiting in the wings, and the off season before that we had Mike Carp waiting in the wings. Sounds like the Mets have a flock of seagulls instead of a stash of prospects playing in Binghamton.
Funnier still, is the Mets’ constant assertions that we have some great first baseman waiting in the wings. The truth is that the Mets have only had three home grown first baseman start back to back opening days in their entire 47 year history; Ed Kranepool, John “The Hammer” Milner and Dave Magadan. And much like incumbent first baseman Daniel Murphy, neither were known as power hitters, despite Milner’s cool nickname.
The Mets have never had a first baseman come up through their system and hit 25 homeruns for the Orange and Blue. The venerable Eddie Kranepool maxed out at 16, Milner once hit 23 and never came close again, and Magadan never hit more than 6 homers in his career.
The Mets have had some great first basemen pass through Flushing and make their marks on the organization like the incomparable Keith Hernandez and the quiet, but productive John Olerud.
Kranepool is the only first baseman the Mets have ever developed that logged any substantial playing time for them. And I am using the word “develop” very loosely. You see Kranepool was signed as a minor league free agent half way through the 1962 season, and got a cup of coffee later that year at the ripe old age of 17. In 1963 he beat out Marvelous Marv Throneberry for the everyday first base job and the rest as they say, is history. He spent less than three months developing before dethroning Throneberry. One thing is certain though, Kranepool went on to become one of the most beloved players ever to wear the Mets uniform.
That brings us back to Daniel Murphy who has won the hearts of many Mets fans with his apparent grission. Murphy went from leftfielder of the future, to leftfielder of the past, and is now acquainting himself with a tenuous hold on first baseman of the present.
I already alluded to former first round pick Ike Davis, who parlayed one good season in A/AA and 20 games in Arizona into untouchable status in the minds of many.
To me Davis is just another prospect in a long line of Mets prospects that have held the title of “First baseman of the Future”. In the past two decades, the Mets have had quite an extensive collection of first basemen of the future. Unfortunately, the future never came for any of them. None of them. Zilch, nada, zippo.
However, after a half a season of moderate production at Class-AA, many Mets fans are now donning their “I Like Ike” buttons. Every year we continue to embrace whatever first baseman of the future the Mets put out in front of us because that’s what fans do. The same people who consider Davis untouchable now, felt the same way about Nick Evans a year ago, and Mike Carp before him. Nothing changes.
Now here is the moral of the story; A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Wouldn’t it be great if Ike Davis became the Padres’ first baseman of the future, and Adrian Gonzalez became our first baseman of the present?
Wouldn’t it be really cool to look up at the beautiful Citi Field scoreboard in September and see: 1B Gonzalez, A. .313 BA – 37 HR – 117 RBI?
In the last three seasons he has averaged 35 homeruns, 35 doubles, 90 walks and 105 RBI. He continues to improve each year and the sky’s the limit. Witness his last three years in these key metrics, OBP .347, .361, .407 and OPS .841, .879, .958. He has just won his second consecutive Gold Glove at first base.
Imagine Keith Hernandez, Carlos Delgado and John Olerud all rolled into one.
It may take a boatload to get him, but at 27 years old, Adrian Gonzalez would be well worth it.
The former number one pick in the country, would immediately become the Mets number one core player surpassing even Wright and Reyes.
The San Diego Padres would be nuts to trade him, but it would be well worth the time it takes to pick up the phone and at least try. Don’t think for a minute, that other teams aren’t already lining up their offers for Gonzalez, because they are.
Former Padres GM Kevin Towers said the return they would get for Gonzalez will never be higher than it is right now.
For a franchise that can ill afford to dole out the tens of millions of dollars he will one day command in arbitration, it may be best for them to do it now if they are going to do it at all.
Why do you think the Adrian Gonzalez rumors continue to persist?
Because everybody knows they can’t keep him including the Padres.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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