Padres fans can feel the Cardinals fans’ pain. We once had a dominating force at first base. The difference, of course, was we Padres fans knew the team never had a chance to keep him around. All we could do was hope for a decent return on him and move on. As every news outlet in the world (a dramatization perhaps) covers the Albert Pujols signing, Chicken Friars will take a look back at Adrian Gonzalez and how AGon simply became gone.
By now, everyone knows the story. Adrian Gonzalez was picked number one overall by the Florida Marlins. He was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina in 2003. Then, Kevin Towers pulled off the crowning achievement of his career as a general manager. In 2006 the Padres traded Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian to the Rangers for Chris Young, Terrmel Sledge, and Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was born in San Diego, became a force for the Padres. He seemingly ignored the offense-repressive confines of Petco Park and put up slugging percentages of .500, .502, ..510, .551, and .511 in his time with the Padres. By mid-2010 it was clear the Padres could no longer afford him and put together a competitive team. So on December 6, 2010, the Padres traded Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes, Anthony Rizzo, and a player to be named later who eventually became Eric Patterson.
The Padres received some of the best prospects in the Red Sox organization. So far, we’ve only received a glimpse of Anthony Rizzo and that glimpse has Padres fans worried. Yet, the trade was smart at the time. The prospects San Diego received in return are still young and developing. They have a very high upside. But no matter the production they eventually provide for the Padres, December 6, 2010 was the Padres saddest day in recent history. That was the day the Padres’ version of Pujols was shipped off to Boston.
Let’s take a look back at some of the Adrian Gonzalez headlines throughout his time in San Diego:
Back in March of 2006, Lyle Spencer of MLB.com covered the upcoming addition of Adrian Gonzalez at first base for the Padres.
In October of 2006, WPXI in Pittsburgh covered Gonzalez’s 4-for-5 performance that helped the Padres claim the N.L. West crown. Oh better days.
In April of 2007, ESPN reported Adrian Gonzalez’s new 4-year deal with the Padres. This was the last contract he would sign with San Diego.
Also in April of 2007, the San Diego Union Tribune described one of the many home runs Gonzalez would hit in his Padres career.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune covered Adrian Gonzalez’s knee injury that threatened his streak of 283 consecutive games played in July of 2009.
In May of 2009, Sports Illustrated examined how trading Adrian Gonzalez may help the Padres rebuild their organization.
On December 5, 2010 the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Padres and Red Sox were close to a trade that would ship Gonzalez to Boston.
Finally, on December 6, 2010, ESPN Boston analyzed the Adrian Gonzalez trade to the Red Sox.
Unlike the Cardinals fans when losing Albert Pujols, Padres fans did not have a rich history and memories of multiple world championships to keep them warm at night. They had the soft lapping sounds of the waves crashing against the beach, washing away the Padres hopes of competition. Nevertheless, Padres Nation feels your pain Cardinals fans.