Adrian wants to win with Padres
Slugger says next contract will need to be fair deal
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said Wednesday that when his current deal is up with the team, he's looking more to get paid what he's worth instead of giving his hometown team a discounted break.
"This next contract is the contract where I look for what I deserve," Gonzalez said. "It's going to be where my value is."
Gonzalez, on the day position players reported to camp, held court with the media and talked about his unsettled future which, according to him, really isn't unsettled at all.
"I want to win as a Padre," Gonzalez said. "I want to bring a championship to San Diego. The city deserves a championship. That should be our goal every day as a team. Our focus shouldn't be on ourselves but the team.
"My job is to prepare for the team I'm playing for. Today I'm a Padre, so I'm preparing and doing everything as a Padre. Up until the day, and hopefully it won't happen, I get traded, I'll be a Padre."
The big question is for how much longer?
Gonzalez's name was mentioned throughout the offseason as a prime trade candidate, especially to the Boston Red Sox, where Padres first-year general manager Jed Hoyer worked previously.
The general sentiment was the Padres might not be able to afford the two-time All-Star first baseman when his current deal expires after the 2011 season and that the team might be better off moving the 27-year-old sooner rather than later.
Hoyer never openly discussed specific talks he had with other teams about Gonzalez this offseason, only to say that he was a commodity for the Padres and, given his production and his affordable contract, a great fit in San Diego.
"It's never difficult to keep a great player," Hoyer said earlier this month. "A lot of teams inquired about Adrian, as you would expect. He's a great player. He certainly fits our team perfectly. He's in the middle of the order, one of the best run producers in the game.
"For us, we listened, but certainly he's a guy we're excited to have for at least the next two years."
Gonzalez, who signed a four-year, $9.5 million contract extension with the team in April 2007, will make $4.75 million this season with a team option for 2011 for $5.5 million without any incentives, making his deal among the best bargains in baseball.
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Gonzalez also confirmed that there are no current negotiations being held between his agent, John Boggs, and the Padres. When asked if he had a "gut feeling" regarding his future, Gonzalez flatly said, "No."
Padres CEO Jeff Moorad and Boggs, in recent weeks, have publicly painted a bleak picture for the possibility that a contract extension can eventually get done.
"Things are quiet and I would expect them to remain quiet," Boggs said Wednesday. "We're not in charge. The ball is in their court. We're always open [to negotiations], but it's not our decision unless we're presented with something. So far, nothing has been presented to us."
Gonzalez said he was easily able to detach himself from innumerable rumors about him during the offseason -- mentally and physically. Gonzalez and his wife, Betsy, vacationed in Europe and he mostly avoided rumors.
The ones he did read nearly made him laugh.
"You know that 99.9 percent of everything is false, so you don't believe what you read, first of all," Gonzalez said. "Second, you don't worry about it because it's out of my control. So I can't worry about it. If it happens, it happens.
"I've been traded before and I've been through it, so I know what to expect."
What kind of contract could Gonzalez command on the open market? The deal that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees in December 2008 -- $180 million over eight seasons -- might serve as a baseline.
The Padres will enter the 2010 regular season with a payroll that runs slightly above the $40 million mark.
What could the Padres command in a deal? The team would certainly be looking for a package of Major League-ready players and prospects, preferably young players who remain under team control.
For now, though, Gonzalez is focused on the task at hand -- helping the Padres become a better team. He's encouraged by the moves Hoyer made this winter and said that he likes the direction the franchise is heading.
"I think we are better. I think it's going in the right direction," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez is coming off his third season with 30 or more home runs -- he hit a career-high 40 homeers in 2009 -- and has knocked in 318 runs over that same span while playing half of his games in the ballpark (PETCO Park) that suppresses offense.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.