Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One year deal for Gonzalez

Everything about this deal is good. Not only will they get a shortstop for one year who's defensive skills are superior to what they had last year, they also leave the door open for Pedroia to emerge as the starter next year. They keep Cora on as their backup player, but it's all risk free for this year, too. If Gonzalez hasn't recovered from off season surgery, he'll get only 500K. - Boston Red Sox: Gonzalez’ 1-year deal carries minimum risk
At a $3 million pricetag, Alex Gonzalez’ pending deal is considered by most to be a pretty good one for the Red Sox. It’s even better considering the bulk of the money is not guaranteed.

As part of the team’s policy for all free agents, Gonzalez will take a physical here today, the final obstacle remaining before signing his one-year deal with the organization.

The team reduced its risk and maximized its flexibility by retaining the ability to cut Gonzalez before Opening Day and not be on the hook for his entire salary. If they cut him before March 15, they are responsible for one-sixth, or $500,000, and if they cut him between March 16 and Opening Day, they are responsible for roughly one-quarter, or $750,000. If he is on the Opening Day roster, his $3 million becomes guaranteed.

By structuring the Gonzalez deal this way, the Red Sox buy themselves some time in case he passes the physical but has not made enough progress in spring training from his Sept. 30, 2005, arthroscopic surgery to remove two bone chips from his right throwing elbow. Gonzalez had a similar procedure performed at the end of the 2004 season.

The deal also allows the competition to be more intense. No one is expecting shortstop prospect Dustin Pedroia to jump to the top of the depth chart this spring but Alex Cora may have something to prove.

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