Prior to officially acquiring slugger Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres, the Red Sox were assured by the slugger that the contract terms he desired on an extension would not change in the event that an Albert Pujols mega-deal raises the market, ESPNBoston.com reported on Thursday.
At that point, Gonzalez told ESPNBoston.com, the Red Sox were concerned about the possibility that Pujols would sign contract with an average salary of $30 million-plus per year between now and the beginning of the season, thereby possibly raising the market value for a player like Gonzalez. The first baseman then told the Red Sox that even if Pujols signed such a deal, he would negotiate based on the current market.
"I made a comment to [Red Sox general manager] Theo [Epstein], 'Make the trade happen by itself, and I promise you during the season I'll negotiate," Gonzalez told ESPNBoston.com. "I'm not going to come here and be like, 'OK, we'll see you at free agency and see if you outbid the other teams.' We'll negotiate during the season. We're going to be fair. We won't be looking for record-breaking deals. We just want market value."
With a trade done, both sides have said they have full confidence that an extension will be reached before Gonzalez hits free agency after the 2011 season, the same time Pujols is set to hit the market. But Gonzalez won't be basing his contract requests on Pujols and his market.
"We gave them our word that we were going to negotiate during the season in good faith," he said. "We're not going to go in there and ask for Albert Pujols' contract, something along those lines."
Since the trade, both parties have continuously referred to their understanding as one made in "good faith." The negotiations themselves helped foster those positive feelings, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said at Gonzalez's introductory news conference.
"We learned a lot about each other's positions, there was a lot of good faith that developed over the course of the negotiations," Epstein said. "We got close to a deal, but in the end, the window lapsed and we didn't have a deal. ... There wasn't a single person who felt like, at the end of the day, we won't get a deal done when the time is right."