Seven million dollars just doesn't get you what it used to. Today, it gets you Luis Gonzalez, everyone's favorite corner outfielder with an 11.3 VORP. Gonzalez is notable since I got him to look at me by being a complete jackass in a near empty Dodger Stadium in 2002. I think it was the "it's every kids dream to hit a bloop single to win the World Series" line that got to him. Anyway, Gonzalez put up a serviceable .271/.352/.444 line last year, with several warning signs around it. The first is that his patience and power have been steadily declining every year since 2001. Right now, the only real value that Gonzalez has left is his ability to walk. If his patience takes another 10 point slide, that's pretty much out the door. The other scary thing is that he did this in the BOB, a very hitter friendly park. If you combine the decline that Gonzalez has been experiencing over the last half decade with moving from the BOB to Dodger Stadium, its not all that pessimistic to think that Gonzalez will hit something like .260/.330/.415 for the Dodgers. That must be close to replacement level for a corner outfielder.
Despite this, I don't hate this deal. Maybe it's because I've lowered my expectations, but at least this is only a one year deal, and this prevents Ned from making a much more catastrophic trade. Heck, Gonzo even has some plus side. His defense isn't as bad as everyone says it is, it rates right around average in most defensive metrics and heck, if he some how manages to post the same line he did last year, and understands that he's just keeping Matt Kemp's spot warm, this could end up as a pretty good deal.
Is Luis Gonzalez better than James Loney? Probably not. Is this the worst possible thing Ned could have done? Nope, so I'm relatively happy. Amazing what signing Juan Pierre will do for my expectations.