The final I's have been dotted, the final T's crossed. Adrian Gonzalez is now a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The Padres officially signed off on the trade Monday morning. San Diego acquired right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named in return for Adrian.
Kelly, Rizzo and Fuentes were named the Red Sox first, third and sixth best prospects, respectively, by Baseball America following the 2010 season. General Manager Jed Hoyer was in Boston's front office when all these players were acquired, so he knows the kind of talent the Padres just infused into their system.
“When it became apparent that Adrian was not going to be with the Padres beyond the 2011 season, we made the difficult decision to acquire a significant haul of young talent to bolster the future of the organization,” said Hoyer. “Sustained success in San Diego will come from developing young players that will make a long-term impact at the Major League level. Acquiring three prospects of this caliber is a strong step in that direction.”
Hoyer is aware how he and the club may take a big PR hit for the move. Gonzalez is a San Diego kid, huge in the San Diego lineup and community.
“I speak for the entire organization when I thank Adrian for his contributions both on and off the field while a member of the Padres," said Hoyer. "In addition to being an incredible player, he and his wife Betsy were and will continue to be tremendous leaders in the community. We wish him continued success as he takes his talents to the American League.”
So, who are these new guys? A starter, a slugger and a speedster. Kelly is ranked the top prospect in Boston's talent-rich system. He's still a couple years away from the majors because the former shortstop only became a full-time pitcher last season. His control is already Big League-ready. Kelly has a 3-1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Rizzo was the Red Sox Organizational Player of the Year in 2010. Between Single and Double A, the first baseman hit 25 homers and drove in 100 runs in just 136 games. He, too, could use another year or two in the minors for seasoning.
Fuentes is the cousin of Mets All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, and may already be more athletic. In his first season of Single A ball, the 19 year old scored 559 runs and stole 42 bases in 47 tries.
While Padres fans won't see an immediate return on the trade, 2012 and beyond suddenly looks a lot brighter.