Adrian Gonzalez (1B, TEX)
The 23 year-old has been up with the Rangers in two stints: he hit .238 in 42 AB in '04 and .194 in 36 AB to begin '05. The sweet-swinging lefty is certainly much better than that, but finding playing time at 1B or DH has been troublesome. There's nothing left for Gonzalez to prove at Triple-A, but the presence of Teixeira and the contributions of Dellucci leave him in a quagmire.
Gonzalez is a pure hitter with a classic, line-drive stroke. It is short and quick and he makes very consistent contact. He's able to hit from gap to gap and has shown the ability to hit fastballs and breaking balls alike. Gonzalez has yet to show consistent long ball power, though he's added some loft to his swing and an improved ability to turn on pitches. There are major questions about the potential for average big league power and he'll need to hit more HR to be more than a Mientkiewicz type of player. Gonzalez's defense is Gold Glove-caliber and he owns soft hands and excellent agility. He doesn't offer much in the way of speed. Gonzalez profiles as a .300 hitter with outstanding defense.
The only thing he needs now is an opportunity.
Texas (AL) - 36 AB, .194/.237/.417, 2 D, 2 HR, 0 SB, 0.29 Eye
Oklahoma (AAA) - 285 AB, .316/.379/.502, 14 D, 13 HR, 0 SB, 0.71 Eye
CURRENT ROLE: Backup 1B/DH
POTENTIAL: Starting 1B
First grade represents 2005 upside. Second grade represents long-term potential.
A: MLB full-timer with high ceiling.
B: Serviceable major leaguer with moderate ceiling.
C: MLB bench player with low ceiling.
So how do we pry someone like him from the Rangers? As a possible comparable trade, they traded Travis Hafner and Aaron Myette for Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese. Not much in return, from my view, did they just get robbed? Anyway, we don't need another player thrown in, how about trading them Kevin Correia and another pitching prospect (not sure who, Misch? Valdez? Simon?) for Gonzalez?
He provides defense, power hitting and bats lefty. The Rangers have no space for him, Teixeira has 1B locked up and Nevin will probably hog the DH spot, and they can always use pitching and prospects.
We could platoon him and Niekro initially. His stats are tolerable vs RHP in 2005: .243/.286/.441/.727, 6 HR in 136 AB. Niekro vs. LHP can't be beat though: .324/.361/.657/1.019, 9 HR in 108 AB. Plus he plays good defense.
Anyone see any negatives? Think that's enough for the Rangers to bite or did their fingers get burned with Hafner?