Longtime big-league first baseman Adrián González, who played for the Rangers, Padres, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Mets across 15 MLB seasons, officially announced his retirement today on his personal Instagram.
Gonzalez last played in the majors in 2018, but he was active as recently as this past season, playing 43 games with the Mexican League’s Mariachis de Guadalajara and posting a .340/.412/.531 batting line in 187 trips to the plate. He also represented Mexico in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), where he collected three hits and a walk in 12 plate appearances.
Selected by the Marlins with the first overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft, González was part of a three-player package dealt to the Rangers at the 2003 trade deadline in exchange for Ugueth Urbina, a key piece in the Marlins’ memorable — if unlikely — 2003 title run. González debuted in Arlington the following year but never established himself as a regular in the Rangers lineup and was dealt again (this time with Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge) to the Padres for pitchers Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. A San Diego native who attended Eastlake High School in nearby Chula Vista, González blossomed with his hometown club, beginning a run of four consecutive All-Star selections in 2008 and five consecutive seasons garnering MVP votes in 2007.
With only a year of control remaining, the Padres traded González to the Red Sox ahead of the 2011 season, and he agreed to a seven-year, $154MM extension in April. Despite strong production in Boston — including winning a Silver Slugger and leading the majors with 213 hits in 2011 — the swooning Red Sox shipped González (along with Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto) to the Dodgers at the 2012 trade deadline in what amounted to a salary dump. Alongside a rotation helmed by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun Jin Ryu, González, Crawford and Beckett solidified the Dodgers’ roster and inaugurated the club’s present run as perennial contenders in the National League. Guggenheim Baseball Management, the present Dodgers ownership group, executed a strategy of building a winner as rapidly as possibly by taking on salary from other teams after buying the club for $2.15 billion in early 2012.
After four-plus productive years in Chavez Ravine, González battled injuries in 2017, appearing in only 71 games (his first season with fewer than 156 since 2005) as he dealt with elbow and back issues that saw him land on the disabled list for the first time in his career. With a young Cody Bellinger entrenched as the Dodgers first baseman and only a year remaining on his contract, González agreed to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate one of the more creative big-money swaps in recent memory, heading to Atlanta along with Charlie Culberson, Brandon McCarthy, and Scott Kazmir in exchange for Matt Kemp. The deal enabled the Braves, nearing the end of a rebuild, to shift their payroll burden forward to 2018, while allowing the Dodgers to slip below the luxury tax threshold.
Per a pre-trade agreement, the Braves immediately designated González for assignment and released him two days later to allow him to explore other opportunities. He eventually latched on with a Mets team that rocketed to an 11-1 start but faded quickly in May and June. In what would turn out to be his final major league season, González compiled a .237/.299/.373 batting line in 187 PA across 54 games before being released by New York.
González finishes his MLB career with some very solid counting stats, (317 home runs, 2,050 hits, and 1,202 RBIs) to go along with a robust .287/.358/.485 career batting line. He also won two Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves and was selected to appear in five All-Star games. With a few truly dominant seasons amidst a thoroughly consistent level of production, González seems like a cinch to at least appear on the Hall of Fame ballot, itself a major honor that reflects a standout career.
MLB Trade Rumors congratulates González on all of his success on the field, and we wish him the best in his post-playing endeavors.