Olney’s Latest: Gonzalez, Lee, Crawford, Jeter

Two days ago we learned that Padres GM Jed Hoyer is willing to listen to trade offers for Adrian Gonzalez (and Heath Bell), unsurprising since the first baseman is reportedly seeking close to $22MM annually when he becomes a free agent next offseason. In today's blog post (Insider req'd), ESPN's Buster Olney lists a few reasons why the Pads are more likely to wait until the trade deadline to move their franchise player…

  • Ticket sales. After surprising success in 2010, the team doesn't want to lose the trust of the fans by dealing their best player before the season.
  • The Padres have a chance to compete in 2011 with Gonzalez in the middle of their lineup, but without him it'll be close to impossible.
  • Other clubs wanting to acquire Gonzalez might be more desperate during the summer, which could result in a better package for San Diego.
  • Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe points out that Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod worked for the Red Sox before joining the Padres, so they have strong first-hand knowledge of Boston's prospects.

Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…

  • Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth will dominate the headlines when free agency begins at 12:01am ET Sunday morning, but Olney lists ten more interesting free agents, led by Joaquin Benoit, Pedro Feliciano, and Orlando Hudson.
  • The Yankees could place their first bid on Lee very soon, perhaps within 72 hours. Anthony McCarron of The New York Daily News hears something similar.
  • Crawford is in a unique situation because he's an elite player that could have six or more teams bidding for his services. Usually players of that caliber only have three or so teams after them.
  • The Yankees operate with the knowledge that no matter how popular the individual player is, the team and its fan base will move on. This of course refers to Derek Jeter.

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