Agent confident Adrian will ink extension in April
Two sides expected to resume contract negotiations soon
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After a face-to-face meeting with Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein on Tuesday, agent John Boggs continued to have full confidence that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will have a contract extension in place by the early portion of the regular season.
"As expected, it was a very positive meeting with Theo," said Boggs. "At the end of the day, everything has been as expected. We sat down and discussed where Adrian is at [physically]. I just think it's going to move very positively in the direction of probably trying to get something done sometime in April."
Boggs made it clear that his visit to Fort Myers was not meant to be a number-crunching experience.
It was more of an opportunity to continue the good faith established by the sides in December, when, after a contract extension could not be reached within the designated 48-hour window, the Red Sox still finalized a trade with the Padres to acquire the slugging first baseman.
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"It's really just been catching up on things. The irony is, I haven't talked to Theo since we left Boston [in December]," Boggs said. "A lot of people go, 'Wow,' but there really wasn't anything other than, 'Hey, get ready Adrian, get through Spring Training and let's see how that goes. Let's see how the progressive march towards the season goes.' Then we'll probably get locked in and drive this thing home if it's meant to be."
With Gonzalez spending much of Spring Training finishing his rehab from right shoulder surgery, there was never any inclination on either side to force an extension before the time is right.
"The main thing is the health issue," said Boggs. "When he's seen to be every day playing competitively in a championship season, I think they're going to have a degree of comfort, and, obviously, that will be a time to probably get something done."
One thing Red Sox fans don't need to worry about is Gonzalez waiting until November to see how he might measure on the free-agent market with two other top sluggers at his position -- Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
"Adrian made it perfectly clear [in December] where his bottom line was, and if they were ready to accept his bottom line, he wasn't going to play those, I guess, logistic options, that he could possibly have," Boggs said. "Adrian, in his mind, he knew what it was going to take bottom line. He wasn't concerned with chasing after or breaking records. He just wants to be fairly compensated.
"Obviously we walked away at their last offer, and that wasn't it. He had a bottom line and he felt that he had cut it to the bone, and then when that wasn't met, we were ready to get up. The market was going to be the market, as it was in December. Yes, you think that you're giving away something that might or might not happen.
"In the end, I think he's said it the clearest, you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you don't want to play for, or you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you want to play for and is in competition every year. That's really what his goal was -- to be treated fairly and be compensated fairly and be on a ballclub that is year after year competitive. I think that was his goal, and after that, if he feels that it's fair financially, he's good to go."
Though no deal is done until it is officially signed, Boggs has no reason to think this situation will have anything but a happy resolution for both his client and the Red Sox.
"I would be very surprised," Boggs said. "There were very positive feelings on both sides. There's a lot of relationships in the past. I've dealt with Theo a lot, I've dealt with [Red Sox president/CEO Larry [Lucchino] a lot. John Henry was the first owner Adrian played for. There's so many relationships involved here that if you can't have an understanding or agreement, I probably can't have one with anyone."
There have been reports that the sides discussed a seven-year, $154 million extension for Gonzalez.
"I think everybody thought we had a term sheet, and we had an agreement in place down to a gnat's eyelash, and we didn't," Boggs said. "There are so many issues we still have to talk about, nuanced issues in some respects, but still a lot. There's language, there's performance bonuses, there's awards. There's the whole caveat of possibilities. At that point, you really don't have anything, because all of a sudden, something that seems insignificant can turn into something that is significant to the player."
The other thing that should help facilitate the deal is that Gonzalez is a straight shooter.
"Again, as I say, Adrian is pretty cut and dry and you can go through a list of 10, 20 things and he'll tell you, 'That's important, that's not, that's not, that's not, that's not, that is, that is,' and he'll take the lead from that point on," Boggs said.