2013 Dodgers player profile: Adrian Gonzalez, better than replacement

Stephen Dunn

Will 2013 see the return of punch to the Dodger first base position

As the trade deadline passed last season, the idea that someone would be writing this profile could have been as farfetched as thinking a minor league journeyman would be the Dodgers starting third baseman this season. And how it all came about last year was so out of the blue, it bears a little repeating here.

On August 23rd, Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times wrote a story with this in it:

To get Gonzalez from the Red Sox, a team is likely going to have to take on some serious salary. And the Red Sox have a couple of bad contracts they would love to unload: outfielder Carl Crawford ($107 million remaining) and Josh Beckett ($34 million).

And then he adds this

So they would have to be willing to give up pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfielder Jerry Sands and more.

When folks here started talking about that article, I would say the tone was not quite mocking but no one could really believe it. And I do think it was more of a thinking out loud article but when you heard that Gonzalez and Beckett had been put on waivers you thought well, that is interesting.

Less than 24 hours after that article was written, that deal was basically done and yes, while the deal did deplete the farm system of two fine pitchers, the Dodgers got their first baseman.

And when A-Gon homered in his first at bat as a Dodger, well, trust me, as someone seeing that over my phone in Chicago, I just laughed out loud.

Now he only hit two more as a Dodger but for a guy switching back leagues and let's just say that he was trying to impress his new teammates, city and help the team go to the post-season, he didn't do that badly, he hit .297/.344/.441 and in September, his only full month on the team, he hit.319/.360/.474.

One other note, Gonzalez has hit very well against left-handers over the last few years so with that and Adrian's history of just not missing any games, the Dodgers will probably just need someone who knows where first base is to back him up.

Trivia

I am not sure how many Adrian Gonzalez home runs I have seen in person but I did see Edgar Gonzalez, Adrian's older brother, hit a home run at the Tokyo Dome in 2010.

Speaking of home runs, the last Dodger first baseman to hit 20 or more home runs in a season was Nomar Garciaparra in 2006. The last true Dodger first baseman (not a player changing position) to hit 20 or more home runs in a single season was Eric Karros with 31 in 2000.

Gonzalez had hit no fewer than 24 home runs in a full season since he started regularly in 2006. Last year between Boston and Los Angeles, he hit 18.

Contract Status

Gonzalez is in the second year of a seven year contract, he will make $21M this year. In December, it was released that Boston will pay $3.9M of that this year (and for the next 2 seasons).

Stats

Year Age PA HR
Runs RBI BA OBP SLG wOBA
2010 San Diego
28 693 31 87 101 .298 .393 .511 .379
2011 Boston
29 715 27 108 117 .331 .410 .548 .407
2012 Boston/Los Angeles
30 684 18 75 108 .299 .344 .463 .346
2013 Projections - Age 31 Season
Year PA HR
Runs RBI BA OBP SLG wOBA
Bill James 694 27 90 107 .303 .372 .505 .375
ZiPS 669 26 78 95 .286 .355 .476 .343


2013 Outlook

I think Gonzalez will embrace his return to the National League and Southern California with a standard Gonzalez year - .295/.365/.515 with 37 doubles and 29 home runs.

What is your guess for Gonzalez in 2013? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, number of home runs, and anything else you wish to guess.

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