After being the subject of trade rumors for close to two years, Adrian Gonzalez is finally on his way out of San Diego. The Padres will send their star slugger to the Red Sox in exchange for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and a player to be named later. The Red Sox and Padres officially announced the deal this morning. While no extension is in place, GM Theo Epstein told reporters he's very confident they'll work something out. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is hearing a seven-year, $154MM ceiling.
If Boston waits until after Opening Day to officially ink Gonzalez to a new contract, the deal will not impact the 2011 payroll, saving them money on the luxury tax. Several high-priced members of the Red Sox come off of the books after 2011, including David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Marco Scutaro, and Mike Cameron.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez is one of the game's premier power-hitters, with no fewer than 30 home runs in each of the last four years despite playing half his games in spacious Petco Park. The Red Sox made the best offer, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that both Chicago teams were serious bidders. The trade all but guarantees that Adrian Beltre will not be returning to Boston, reducing his leverage on the open market. The Red Sox are expected to put Gonzalez at first base and slide Kevin Youkilis over to third.
Kelly, 21, is the headliner for San Diego. He was the 30th overall pick in the 2008 draft and owns a 3.69 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 190 career innings split evenly between Single and Double-A. After dabbling at shortstop earlier in his career, Kelly is a full-time pitcher now. Despite the less than stellar statistics, Callis said the Red Sox still "[envisioned] him becoming a frontline starter with three possible plus pitches and above-average command," and he expects Kelly to rank in the 30-50 range of the publication's upcoming Top 100 Prospects list (Twitter link).
Rizzo, also 21, was a sixth round pick in 2007 and has broken out since missing most of the 2008 season to get treatment for Limited Stage Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He's hit .279/.349/.476 over the last two years, mostly at the Single-A level. Callis writes that he "generates plus power with strength and leverage" and "should hit for a solid average and draw some walks." Rizzo was also voted the best defensive first baseman in the Double-A Eastern League by managers this season.
Fuentes, 20 in February, is a center fielder like his cousin Carlos Beltran, and hit .270/.328/.377 in 2010, his first full season after being the 28th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Although he "may need four or five seasons in the minors," Callis says he has similar tools to Jacoby Ellsbury but projects to be better with both the bat and glove down the road.
ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes and Dan Hayes of the North County Times first reported that the two sides were closing in on a trade, with Jon Heyman of SI.com eventually tweeting that the deal had been finalized. In between, a slew of writers added details to the proceedings. For the full timeline of events, check out our posts leading up to the agreement.
MLBTR's Mike Axisa, Luke Adams, and Zach Links contributed to this post.