Boston Hitting .500 in $20 Mil Club
Much can be said about the Boston Red Sox foray into the $20 million club. This year, for the first time in its history, the club signed a player for $20 millionâ€¦a year. And, Boston followed that up a while laterÂ and signed a second player for $20 millionâ€¦a year.
Boston lost its first six games of the season and started 2-10. At the lowest point of the season for the team, the first $20 million was hitting .137 and got benched the next game. The second $20 million was hitting .244.
Suffice it to say,Â the second $20 million has been worth it.
Since April 16th, which began Bostonâ€™s nothing short of a miraculous turn around that had them in first place, albeit for four hours, this weekend, and currently only a half game out of first, Adrian Gonzalez has been hitting .372. This weekend against the Cubs he hit 10 for 15, posting two four-hit games. For the season he is hitting .342, a nearly 100 point increase in just more than a month. He has hit eight homeruns this month compared to one for all of April.
â€œHe kind of comes as advertised,â€ Manager Terry Francona said yesterday during a televised in-game interview.
Described as being very down-to-earth, humble and not your usual superstar (a trait that has always endeared me to Red Sox players) Gonzalez has found his home. Some players seem to be born to play at Fenway and for Boston, Gonzalez is one of them.
His career average prior to joining the Red Sox was .284 and his best season was 2006, his first year with the San Diego Padres when he hit .304. He already has 65 hits this year and more than 70 percent of the season remains. Gonzalez is on pace to shatter his personal record for hits (182) and could easily eclipse 200 for the season. As a percentage, he is also drawing less walks, just under eight percent of the time, compared to just over nine percent of the time in 2006. For Gonzalez, less walks appears to mean more hits.
Gonzalez was hitless in six of the teamâ€™s first 12 games. Since then, heâ€™s been hitless in just five games helping the Red Sox climb out of last place and post a 23-11 record.
Carl Crawford on the other hand continues to struggle with an average that has hovered around .210 since May 7. Since he was benched on April 16th after hitting .137, he has managed to bat .238. In nine years with Tampa Bay, he hit over .300 five times and came close a sixth time. He has one home run for the season compared to 19 last year.
Remarkably, without Gonzalez the Red Sox season is certainly over. He is one of two players on the team hitting over .300, the closest being Jed Lowrie at .319. Crawford rounds out the bottom for starters and Catcher Jason Varitek is only a two-for-three game away from eclipsing him.
Gonzalez is a gem that management clearly understood could be a valuable asset to the Boston franchise. No one has ever batted 1.000 and that certainly goes for management decisions on acquisitions and for teams who have joined the $20 million club. Crawford looks to be Edgar Renteria Part Two and will only last a year playing at Fenway if his season doesn’t turn around as remarkably as Boston’s has.
Like I said, some players seem to be born to play at Fenway and others, well, they are best playing for other teams at other parks.