The Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox deal appears to be close to being finalized, and the Padres will receive two of the Red Sox top three prospects according to Baseball America, a speedy centerfielder and a player to be named later.
The three prospects in the proposed deal are pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Kelly pitched at AA Portland in 2010, going 3-5 in 21 starts. The Red Sox appeared to have tight reigns on Kelly as he threw only 95 innings in his 21 starts, with an 81-35 K/BB rate, an ERA of 5.31 and WHIP of 1.611. He will move to either AA San Antonio or AAA Portland in 2011. He will join Simon Castro to give the Padres two solid pitching prospects who could join a rotation with Mat Latos and Cory Luebke in 2012, although Castro could get a long look in spring training 2011.
Here is what ESPN's Keith Law had to say about Kelly:
His performance was up and down in 2010, in part due to a badly cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand, giving him trouble with both fastball command and finishing his curveball. He's probably a 2012 debut, and he could start 2011 back at Double-A if the Padres want to keep him out of a good hitting environment in Tucson.
Rizzo is the Padres first baseman of the future now. He had a very good 2010 season where he hit a combined .260-.334-.480 with 25 HRs, 100 RBIs and 10 SBs at A+ and AA Portland. Like many power hitters, Rizzo strikes out alot-132 times in 531 at bats in 2010.
Here is Law on Rizzo:
he could earn a late-season call-up this year if he performs well in Triple-A Tucson. Like Gonzalez, Rizzo is a plus-fielding, plus-makeup, power-hitting first baseman, although he's probably a notch below Gonzalez as a pure hitter and has had some trouble with left-handed pitching so far in the minors.
Fuentes is a speedy centerfielder who played 2010 in Low A Greenville, where he hit .270-.328-.377 with 5 HRs, 41 RBIs and 42 SBs in 47 attempts. Here is Law's thoughts on Fuentes:
Fuentes is a 70-75 runner with 70 range in center, making him an ideal defensive fit for Petco's spacious outfield, and he has good feel for the bat with the potential to hit for average down the road.
What I am curious about is who plays first base for the Padres in 2011? Will Kyle Blanks be healthy enough after Tommy John surgery or will the Padres sign a free agent to play 1B for them? If Blanks is healthy, he should start the season at 1B, moving out of the outfield. The Padres outfield is crowded with Ryan Ludwick in RF, Cameron Maybin in CF, and a combination of Chris Denorfia, Aaron Cunningham and Will Venable in LF.
I could see the Padres dealing Ludwick to a team looking for a power hitting outfielder. The Dodgers and Phillies are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, so there are two teams who could be fits for the Padres.
As for Adrian Gonzalez, I think he moves up the first base rankings now, even though he is recovering from shoulder surgery. I recently took an early look at the first base rankings here, and here is what I wrote about AGonz:
7. Adrian Gonzalez, SD-just think what this guy could do hitting in a better lineup and in a better hitter's park. AGonz has hit 30 or more HRs in each of the last 4 seasons, and has driven in 100+ runs in 3 of the last 4 seasons. AGonz doesn't strike out alot, has a very good walk rate, and hits for power. He will never steal alot of bases, but he is, in a word, consistent. And once he is traded, he could vault up these rankings.
With this deal, I would now rank AGonz ahead of Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira into the #4 spot in the first base rankings. In his career, AGonz has hit .303-.376-.568 on the road, with 107 of his 168 HRs and 311 of his 515 RBIs. I may move him into the #3 spot since he has a longer track record and hits in a better lineup than # 3 first baseman Joey Votto.