According to the Boston Herald (with ESPN also reporting, Alex Gonzalez has agreed to a 1 year/3 million dollar deal to play shortstop for the Boston Red Sox in 2006.
This appears to be a done deal. If so, our holes have been filled, and we're ready for a final analysis and lineup evaluation.
Gonzales could be solid with the stick, but should be at least "very good" with the glove. Alex Gonzalez, along with Mike Lowell, Mark Loretta, and Coco Crisp, becomes the latest player to leave a pitcher's park for the friendly dimensions of Fenway Park. I would not at all be surprised to see him put up something along the lines of a .277/.330/.430, with 12-17 homeruns, 70+ RBI, and over 70 runs scored. Perhaps it's community projection time? One scouting report had this to say:
"(Gonzalez) has very good bat speed when healthy, and is one of the strongest middle infielders in the game. Not a base-stealing threat. Has good hands and agility, and exceptional range to his right. Has all the tools to be a very good shortstop"
ESPN's own Scouting Report had this to say:
"A trained mistake hitter, Gonzalez needs to do a better job tracking quality breaking balls on the outer half. Deceptively strong, he tends to grow enamored with his power stroke at the expense of situational hitting. Lacking the speed to leg out hits, he is prone to long slumps. For a middle infielder, Gonzalez never has been much of a basestealer, and his baserunning is just decent. His defense has been Gold Glove quality for the past few years, but the rest of the league is still figuring that out. He has a cannon arm and has thrown runners out from his knees from deep in the hole on several occasions. Pitchers love having him behind them and are willing to overlook his flaws at the plate."
That's the thing about scouting reports, you have to take them for what they're worth. Nevertheless, the money sounds right, and he may end up being a very productive player for us in 2006. One thing about this deal and the others this off-season, is the concentration on improving the defense. Last time that happened, we won the World Series. Need I say more?
That said, our lineup is now complete. There will be variations, for sure.
Hopefully our 2006 Red Sox can stay healthy and play some good fundamental baseball.